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Knowledge Bank - Chinese Culture | Keats Education - Learn Chinese with Keats!

Knowledge Bank - Chinese Culture

Home > Knowledge Bank > Chinese Culture > Brief Introduction of Cursive

Brief Introduction of Cursive


When the foreign students learn Chinese in Yunnan in Keats School, they may like to learn some kind of Chinese calligraphy. There are many kinds of Chinese characters and they can be written in different kinds of styles of calligraphy. The different kinds of styles of calligraphy exist in different dynasties. Nowadays, people like to imitate the different styles of the Chinese calligraphy. Today we will introduce one kind of Chinese calligraphy. This kind of Chinese calligraphy is cursive.

The cursive is the character style which is written with a haste and fast speed. According to the common sense, any style of characters can be written in the form of cursive. For example, the characters of the inscription on the bronze articles are cursive. But the typeface of cursive in the literature refers to a kind of character font. The character font develops from the rash writing style and form in the middle period of Western Dynasty. The character font becomes popular in the Eastern Han Dynasty. In the records by Emperor Wu of Liang, the cursive was used during the period of wartime. This kind of character font can not be easily recognized and the messages on the letter can not be read by the people. This is one explanation of the origin of the cursive.

The early cursive still contains the tint of Lishu in Han Dynasty. This kind of character font is called Zhangcao. From the period from late Eastern Han Dynasty to Wei-Jin Period, the cursive witnessed rapid development and many people used ligature. The cursive during this period is called Jincao. Till Tang Dynasty, the cursive develops to a haste and unconstrained way and the cursive is called Kuangcao. Today some simplified words like 东,为,长and 书 are all the developed forms of cursive. Some foreign students like to learn cursive from some profession teachers when they learn Mandarin in Yunnan.

Since the cursive uses the ligature a lot, the writers tend to imitate structure or the outline of the words. They just want to imitate the speed and the feel of the words. Thus, many common people can not distinguish the words written down, which undoubtedly influences the communication function of the character font. As a result, the cursive can not become the currently-used character font and it is only one kind of character font in calligraphy. 


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