Seal script chinese writing and meanings

Most commonly, without any other clarifying terminology, it refers to the latter of these. The term Large Seal script itself can also cover a broad variety of scripts, including a variation of Qin writing earlier than the small seal characters, but also the earlier Western Zhou forms, or even oracle bone characters as well. Since the term is an imprecise one, not clearly referring to any specific historical script and not used with any consensus in meaning, modern scholars tend to avoid it, and when referring to seal script, generally mean the small seal script of the Qin system, that is, the lineage which evolved in the state of Qin during the Spring and Autumn [1] and Warring States period and which was standardized under the First Emperor.

Seal script chinese writing and meanings

Diagonal to the right and left Circle Curve to the right and left Square and Angle We can divide the writing of each brush stroke in three parts: Although we brush each brush stroke in one go, the three following sequences make it easy to build up every stroke. This is how you perform: The attack Touch the paper with the brush tip slightly bent inwards Press to shape the rounded beginning Raise the brush slightly Move the brush slowly, maintaining the brush tip in the center of the stroke Hold the breath Press the brush to shape the rounded ending Raise the brush slightly Leave the brush stroke and Exhale These are the basic movements required to shape the eight brush strokes of seal script.

As for the curved elements one should rotate the brush between the thumb and the index finger, maintaining seal script chinese writing and meanings pressure. To brush seal script it is of outmost importance that you establish the correct tension between the brush, wrist and arm.

You should hold the brush in the traditional Japanese or Chinese way, vertically and with all fingers wrapping around the brush handle. Grasp the brush as near as possible to the tuft, at the beginning of the brush handle.

This ensures an immediate response of the brush tip to the slightest change of direction or pressure. Build up tension within the brush stroke; make the brush engrave. When writing seal script you should maintain the brush tip in the center of the brush stroke and move the brush slowly and with steady pressure.

seal script chinese writing and meanings

In so doing you create an artistic tension comparable to the strength and depth of signs carved into wood or written in sand. Many calligraphers let the wrist rest upon the table or hand. I advise you to write seal script with the hand raised above the writing paper. This is one of the methods that energizes the brush stroke with your very own life breath.

To increase the artistic appearance of the brush strokes you should shape well the beginning and ending of each brush stroke; pause, shape and give volume.

The inhaling, holding and exhaling of the breath are optional. To hold the breath while writing seal script concentrates all your strength within the brush stroke.

seal script chinese writing and meanings

But one has to be careful applying this technique as it effects ones energies. If done, do it gently and pay attention to how you react to it and if it suites you well. Create a harmonic tension in composition You should compose the seal script characters well, exalt their simplicity and purity.

Therefore keep yin and yang balanced with brush strokes neither too round nor too angular, strive for a general smooth appearance.

Seal Script, The Beauty Of Ancient Chinese Calligraphy. How To Write Seal Script

Here again you should apply the oriental approach of letting opposites meet; round should contain angular and the other way around. The seal script characters are pictograms taken from nature. So if you observe the pictogram as an organic composition, you can feel the connections and the characters will show a smooth balance.

The basic features for composition of small seal script are: The character stands within an imaginary rectangle; with a ratio of height to width of about 3 to 2 Symmetry of left and right Balanced spacing The stroke order in seal script is less fixed than in standard script, you have some more freedom but generally spoken we could say that the order is: First the left part, then right First horizontal then vertical First the parts outside, then inside From top to bottom C.

But some people might find the mixed hair brush more comfortable as it is easier to handle when lifting and rotating the brush. Choose length and width of the brush in accordance to the size of the characters.

But do not write seal script to small as this might make it more difficult to allow the brush to expand. Video demonstration of the Heart Sutra in Calligraphy In the videos I show you how to brush some of the seal script characters in my book The Heart Sutra in Calligraphy.

A Visual Appreciation of the Perfection of Wisdom With the video demo you will gain a clear understanding of the brush handling and the general stroke order of the characters. I hope you enjoy viewing them and feel inspired to pick up the brush and gradually brush the entire Heart Sutra in seal script.

Below I have added some etymological details about the characters brushed in each video. But if you are eager to learn more about the etymology of seal script characters you can look up Chinese Characters by L.The same is true for the Khitans, Jurchens and Tanguts that had adopted the Chinese script as a model for their own script (see Khitan script, Jurchen script and Tangut script).


The only exception is the use of the Chinese script for Vietnamese, a likewise isolating and highly monosyllabic language. Seal script is an ancient form of Japanese and Chinese calligraphy with a special appeal to the artistic eye.

This ancient Chinese writing form has a particular expressiveness and magic. Artist-calligrapher Nadja Van Ghelue shows you how to brush small seal script in various video demonstrations.

Seal Script is a style of Chinese calligraphy that developed during the Zhōu dynasty (c. BC) and the Warring State Period of the Qin Dynasty (c. / BC). The Qin version became the standard formal of the Qin dynasty, and continued to be used during the Han Dynasty for decorative purposes and name seals.

Let's learning something about the History and characteristic of the five basic script styles, then, you will find you could have a better understanding of Chinese Calligraphy. Seal Script Tips for Learners. Chinese characters should not be confused with Chinese words, as the majority of modern Chinese words, unlike their Old Chinese and Middle Chinese counterparts, are written with two or more characters, each character representing one syllable and/or morpheme.


Knowing the meanings of the individual characters of a word will often . The following is a comparison of Chinese characters in the Standard Form of National Characters, a common traditional Chinese standard used in Taiwan, the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters, the standard for Mainland Chinese simplified Chinese characters, and the jōyō kanji, the standard for Japanese kanji.

The Chinese Script (