Calligraphy, as a common noun, refers to beautiful handwriting with which to express one's ideas. There are few countries like China which regard calligraphy as a form of art, and that is why calligraphy is generally used to refer to Chinese calligraphy.
Chinese calligraphy has a long history, and is usually considered as old as China itself. Most Westerners, even those who know a lot about Chinese painting and other Chinese arts, regard Chinese calligraphy as unfathomable. Unless one has grown up in the environment of traditional Chinese art, it is quite difficult to master Chinese calligraphy. Of course, with sufficient effort, one can study and master this art.
the Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion by Wang Xizhi
In China, calligraphy is the most popular art. In fact, it is a national hobby. A Chinese person is trained in calligraphy from early childhood, so the nation has a common habit of appreciating calligraphy. Good paintings, good melodies and good poems are seldom seen but excellent calligraphic works can be found in many places and from every period of history. Many Chinese regard calligraphy as a pleasant pastime and practice it often.
Chinese characters evolved from pictures and signs, and the unique Chinese calligraphy came into being during the development of writing. Using fine paper, brushes and ink, calligraphers have evolved a richly varied tradition of calligraphic styles, which have been handed down from generation to generation. The main styles of Chinese calligraphy are: Zhuanshu (Seal Script), Lishu (Official Script), Kaishu (Regular Script), Xingshu (Semi-Cursive Script, or Running Script) and Caoshu (Cursive Script).
Great calligraphers came to the fore in each dynasty. Their calligraphy and styles thus became representative of their time. The Tang Dynasty was a brilliant age of calligraphy. Yan Zhenqing and Liu Gongquan were the master calligraphers of that time, and their works have been models for students of calligraphy to this day.
The Chinese Calligraphers' Association and local calligraphers' associations at all levels often stage competitions and hold exhibitions. Universities, enterprises and institutions have their own calligraphy associations.
Wang Xizhi (303–361),the Sage of Chinese Calligraphy.