Calligraphy----Seal Script

The earliest systematic calligraphy form in China, seal script is characterized by flat elongated characters worked out in rounded strokes. The pre-Qin characters are called "Big Seal Script" and the characters after Qin's unification are called "Small Seal Script". The latter abolished the use of the large number of regional variations of characters, further unifying, simplifying and standardizing the Chinese language. It was the first massive systematic codification of ancient Chinese characters in Chinese history. Small Seal Script, after being unified, took on more symbolic features and exerted profound influences on the standardizations of language in later generations. The literal material of Qin Small Seal Script can be seen in stone carvings of Mount Tai, Langya Stone Carvings, Yishan Mountain Stone Carvings, Kuaiji Stone Carvings, and so on.

In the Han dynasty, seal script played a dominant role. The Yuan and Ming Dynasties saw a slight decline of it. In the Qing dynasty with the rise of tablet research, seal script experienced new development. And many masters of seal script calligraphers burst upon the stage. During the late Qing Dynasty and the early years of Republic there appeared masters of seal script like Wu Changshuo and Qi Baishi.

As an art of calligraphy, seal script has been until today frequently used in artists' seals. On the other hand, its rich visual elements have endowed new life to seal script, the earliest systematic calligraphy form in China, in the fields of modern advertising, and icon and pattern designing.

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