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Kaisho (楷書, かいしょ, i.e. “standard script”)

One of the five core scripts of Chinese calligraphy. Chronologically, kaisho was the fourth one to appear. The legend says that kaisho was created by a minister of the Cao Wei dynasty (曹魏, 220 -265 C.E.) named 鍾繇 (Zhōng Yáo, 151-230 C.E.), after devoting years to perfecting his brush techniques, and deeply influenced by a book written by 蔡邕 (Cài Yōng, 133-192 C.E.), entitled “Nine Forces Essay” (九勢, Chinese: Jiǔ shì). However, today we know that the earliest records of pre-kaisho are bamboo books (木簡, もっかん, mokkan) from 170 B.C., unearthed in 1972 in Hunan province (湖南). It is said that kaisho is the most difficult and rigid style of calligraphy. Also, mastering its strokes (there are 37 of them in total, however 8 of them, called 永字八法 (えいじはっぽう, eiji happō, “The Eight Principles of Character 永 (i.e. eternity)”), are the most essential ones) is a must, prior to moving on to studying other styles. Standard script gives the least freedom to express one’s 書風 (しょふう, i.e. “personal calligraphy style”), yet possibly it is the most convenient style to spot flaws in one’s technique. Naturally, calligraphy is an art, so there are more relaxed forms of kaisho. Nonetheless, its basic concept is a rigid structure with precise brush strokes. Kaisho is to be written slowly and with attention to detail. To read more about standard script, please click here. Kaisho has reached its peak of evolution during the Tang dynasty (唐朝, 618 – 907 C.E.).

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Page last modified on October 27, 2011, at 07:14 PM