Calligraphy, literally "beautiful writing," has been appreciated as an art form in many different cultures throughout the world, but the stature of calligraphy in Chinese culture is unmatched. The history of Chinese calligraphy is as long as that of China itself. In China, from a very early period, calligraphy is considered not just a form of decorative art; rather, it is viewed as the supreme visual art form, is more valued than brush painting and sculpture, and ranked alongside poetry as a means of self-expression and cultivation. How one writes, in fact, is as important as what one writes.
Chinese calligraphy is also an art unique to Asian cultures. In China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, people have enjoyed appreciating and practicing Chinese calligraphy. In the history of China, calligraphy has always been held in equal importance to martial arts by the national leaders. Thus, most people call martial arts "the National Art of China ( 國 術 )" and some people exalt Chinese calligraphy as "the first art of China." ( 書 法 素 有 中 國 第 一 藝 術 的 美 稱 )
Calligraphy monuments in Shaolin Temple
It's recommended for readers without prior experiences in Chinese calligraphy to read the "Basics" before proceeding to other sections on this website. The "Basics" consists only twelve short articles.
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