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Development of Chinese Script

  Kaishu & Xingshu

In the declining years of the Han Dynasty, the script again developed from the Lishu to the Kaishu (Standard Script), which is the script in use today. The change from Lishu to Kaishu involved a move toward more upright, angular characters. Kaishu is also called Zhenshu (Standard scripts). When writing Kaishu style, we need to write the strokes neatly, one by one. The Kaishu script began during the declining years of the Han Dynasty, became mature during the Weijin Period, became commonly used during the Nan Bei Chao Period, and is still in use today.

As Caoshu developed from the Zhangcao style down to the Jincao style, it became more messy and careless. It developed even further in the post Tang period and became called Kuangcao (Crazy cursive script), which was hardly even recognizable. Kuangcao, in fact, is not used for practical writing, but became a style used for artistic expression.

In between the Kaishu and Caoshu, there is another style called Xingshu (Running script). Xingshu is not as messy as Caoshu, nor as neat as Kaishu. In general, it is convenient and highly practical for writing.

Author: Jessie


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