Chinese calligraphy, the writing of characters, is an art form that has developed over many centuries in China and is the oldest known system of writing in the world.  Chinese calligraphy writing has hardly changed in the last 4,000 years and is thought to have originated as pictures around 2,000 BC.

The word "calligraphy" has it's origins in the Greek language and the dictionary defines calligraphy as "the art of fine handwriting."  There is no finer example of fine handwriting than Chinese calligraphy.  Most people associate the word calligraphy with good penmanship, but in China calligraphy is an art form in itself.

Chinese calligraphy writing is practiced by people in China from an early age, and all school children learn how to write calligraphy. This art form permeates every facet of Chinese culture and is often used to adorn everyday articles such as clothing, household items, jewelry, tea sets, dishes and much more.  Chinese calligraphy writing can be found in museums all over the world and is prominently featured in nearly every museum in China.

Chinese calligraphy writing and artworks are becoming much more popular in Western cultures.  This can be seen in many areas of Western culture, including the fact that calligraphy symbols have become one of the most popular tattoos in the United States.

The art of Chinese calligraphy writing reaches from tattoo parlors all the way to the White House. Mrs. Laura Bush recently wrote a Chinese character meaning eternity, during a lesson at the Suchiya-cho Townhouse in Kyoto, Japan.  Visit our Chinese Calligraphy page to see the photo of her holding the calligraphy painting she wrote.

Chinese Calligraphy Writing Styles

There are only two styles of calligraphy writing commonly used in China today, the Clerical Style and the Regular Style. These two styles are known as the modern styles, though in truth they are over 1500 years old.  The other forms of calligraphy are often referred to as "traditional" or ancient styles and are only practiced by a limited number of Chinese calligraphy artists who wish to preserve this ancient form of writing.

Some of the ancient calligraphy writing styles include Oracle Inscriptions, the Great Seal Style, the Small Seal Style and the Running Style.  Among the various calligraphy writing styles there are further divisions of these styles, which artists use in writing Chinese calligraphy characters.

There are thousands of styles of Chinese calligraphy writing, but only Zhuan Shu, Li Shu, Kai Shu, Xing Shu, and Cao Shu can generally be recognized by Chinese people. JiaGuWen and Jin Wen are two additional styles that are very ancient and few people can recognize these styles, even in China. The style you are most likely to see in modern Chinese calligraphy paintings is known as Kai Shu.

Even within the style of Kai Shu you will find countless additional styles which appear to be completely different from each other, but in fact they are just variations of this one style of writing. Most calligraphy characters you see in advertising, product packaging, on general household items and in daily life are of the Kai Shu style.

Learning Chinese Calligraphy Writing

The Chinese Calligraphy Store offers books, calligraphy kits, ink, brushes, rice paper and other calligraphy supplies to help you learn the art of Chinese calligraphy writing. To get started you will need some basic tools and at least one book on this subject.  You can buy one of the books listed on this Web site or visit your local public library for books on this subject.  You will also need some basic supplies, which we have listed below.

  • Brushes - Some Western style paint brushes can be used, but we highly recommend investing in a set of Chinese calligraphy brushes.  These brushes are made specifically for calligraphy writing and we provide the best results.
  • Paper - For beginners you should considered practice sheets or practice books which allow you to paint with only water, this will save you a lot of money as you will not be wasting paper and ink while you are learning how to write. After you have a better feel for writing calligraphy characters you should purchase ink and rice paper which are made specifically for calligraphy writing.
  • Paper Weight - Rice paper is very thin and light, so it will want to slide and move as you paint.  Chinese artists have special paper weights they use to hold their paper in place while they are working.  We offer a beautiful set of these paper weights on this Web site, and one paper weight is included in our large calligraphy set.
  • Ink - There are two types of ink used for writing calligraphy, ink sticks and liquid ink. Most people prefer to buy the liquid ink which can be found at many arts supplies stores. If you are patient and would like to use the traditional ink sticks you may purchase those from this Web site.  Though ink sticks take a little time to grind and make your own ink with, many traditional Chinese artists will use nothing else.
  • Backing Material - An old synthetic blanket is ideal for this purpose, and Chinese artists use a material just like this to paint watercolor and calligraphy paintings on.


Chinese Calligraphy Writing Products

One of our best selling products for Chinese calligraphy writing is our large Chinese calligraphy set which provides nearly everything you need to get started including brushes, ink stick, ink well, paper weight, porcelain brush holder, porcelain water dish, a Chinese seal (un-carved) and red seal ink in a porcelain container.

 Featured Calligraphy Writing Products @ The Chinese Calligraphy Store Complete Chinese Calligraphy Kit
Complete Chinese Calligraphy Kit

This kit is designed to offer everything needed to begin writing Chinese calligraphy and includes a complete calligraphy set. Calligraphy Brush Set of 18 Buddha Brushes
Calligraphy Brush Set of 18 Buddha Brushes

There are nine types and nine sizes included in this set, and two of each size, each brush is designed to produce a different stroke. Chinese Symbols Beginners Calligraphy Book
Chinese Symbols Beginners Calligraphy Book

These sheets are designed to be used for practicing calligraphy, and even have Chinese symbols and grid lines to aid your practice.      

  • 0 items

We Accept

Satisfaction Guaranteed
Language Translation