Home > Explore + Learn > Chinese art > China's Calligraphic Arts > Standard Script

Detail from an Excert from the Duobao Pagoda Stele, in standard script. Larger image

Standard Script (楷書)

Standard script (kaishu) was first practiced following the fall of the Han dynasty in 220 CE. The balanced and clearly legible characters in this commonly used handwritten Chinese script combine distinct, individual strokes in visually sophisticated and complicated forms. Perfected in the mid-Tang dynasty (618-907), it is still the first script taught to schoolchildren, and it serves as the typeface for most modern printed materials.

As illustrated at right, eight different types of strokes are used to construct the Chinese character yong (forever). These eight incorporate all the different brush movements that are used in standard script.

Eight stroke types in the character Yong.
1. Ce 側 slanting dot
2. Le 勒 horizontal stroke
3. Nu 努 vertical stroke
4. Ti 趯 hook
5. Ce 策 slightly upward stroke
6. Lue 掠 left falling stroke
7. Zhuo 啄 left downward short pick
8. Zhe 磔 right falling stroke

You're viewing an archived version of our site. Some pages may be out of date. Visit freersackler.si.edu for the most up-to-date information.