Can you write the Chinese language in italics?

Chinese calligraphy, writing Chinese characters

As the oldest and still in use writing system in the world, the Chinese characters can be traced back to the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BC). Over thousands of years, character writing has become a highly valued art form, often called Chinese calligraphy.

Calligraphy is considered a highly respected artistic form of Chinese culture. It is not just a practical technique of writing or a tool of written communication, but rather an important and unique form of spiritual expression for your calligrapher.

Calligraphy conveys the emotions, aesthetic feeling, morals and integrity of the calligrapher. Those familiar with calligraphy can even read the character, temperament or changes in the social situation of the calligrapher from his / her work.

The ink, the ink stone, the brush and the paper are the four essential tools of calligraphy. Together they are also called the Four Treasures of Diligence (文房四宝 or “wen fang si bao” in Pinyin). These four tools have been used by artists from ancient times to the present day, throughout Chinese history. Seals with a stylized engraving of the artist's name are usually used by the artist to sign the work, poem, painting, calligraphy or documents and letters.


Chinese traditional calligraphy can be divided into main categories: seal script, office script, rule script, italic script, and grass script.

1. The seal script 篆书 (zhuan shu)

The Sign “dragon” (龙) in the seal script

It can be divided into two types: the kind of the great seal marks and the type of the small seal marks. These forms first appeared in the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC) and developed from the oracle bone inscriptions. The accurate structure of the oracle bone inscriptions formed the basis for modern Chinese characters. The latter are a bit simpler in shape and more standardized than the earlier script. The small seal script, also known as the Qin seal script, was collected, compiled, and described by Li Si after the unification of China in the Qin Dynasty. The signs of the seal script are very elegant and are still preferred in calligraphic work today.

2. The chancellery 隶书 (li shu)

The Character for “dragon” (龙) in the chancellery script

She is from of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). The advent of the chancellery script was another reform of the Chinese characters that ushered in a new phase in the development of Chinese calligraphy.

Indeed, it was a transition period in the history of Chinese characters and laid a solid foundation for the formal writing. The office font is characterized by a flat, accurate and refined structure. At the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty, the left and right inclinations of the lines were bent upwards. Other strokes in calligraphy were marked by variations of thoughtful beauty. The style of the chancellery is characterized by a great variety and has a high study value.

3. The rulebook 楷书 (kai shu)

The Symbol for “dragon” (龙) in the rulebook

The rule script is also known as the Zhengshu script and developed from the seal script. It is simple in structure and square in shape. To be precise, it is more standardized horizontally and vertically. Fixed characteristics of the rule script are its carefulness and the order of the lines, which is also the reason why it is widespread and very popular in use to this day.

4. The italics 行书 (xing shu)

The Character for “dragon” (龙) in italics

It is the italic form of the regular script. When carefully written with fine lines, the cursive characters look very similar to the rulebook, but when written quickly they are more reminiscent of grass script. Italic script was developed during the Han Dynasty (202–220 BC). In general, it is very convenient and practical to write.

5. The grass script (concept script) 草书 (cao shu)

The symbol for “dragon” (龙) in grass script

The grass font is characterized by simple and sketchy forms of the individual Characters from. It was designed during the Western Han Dynasty (206–8 BC) and became the dominant script in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220). It has short, concise structures with borrowed elements. Though uneven in appearance, grass font has great artistic value beyond its practical use.