The historical development of Chinese calligraphy brushes

By Fei Gao on Mar 27, 2023

  China has a long and rich history of calligraphy, which is the art of writing Chinese characters using a brush and ink. The brush used in calligraphy is known as a "maobi" or "mao bi" in Chinese, which translates to "hair brush" in English. The maobi is made from animal hair, such as goat, rabbit, or wolf, and is used to create a wide range of strokes and styles.

  The history of maobi can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE), when calligraphy became an important art form in China. During this time, calligraphy was used for official documents, religious texts, and personal correspondence. The maobi used during the Han Dynasty were made from animal hair and bamboo, and were often decorated with intricate designs.

  Over the centuries, calligraphy and the maobi continued to evolve and develop. During the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 CE), calligraphy became even more popular, and many famous calligraphers emerged during this time. The maobi used during the Tang Dynasty were often made from goat hair, and were known for their flexibility and precision.

  During the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 CE), calligraphy reached new heights of sophistication and elegance. The maobi used during this time were often made from wolf hair, which was prized for its strength and durability. Many famous calligraphers emerged during the Song Dynasty, including Su Shi and Huang Tingjian.

  Today, calligraphy and the maobi continue to be an important part of Chinese culture. Calligraphy is still used for official documents, religious texts, and personal correspondence, and many people practice calligraphy as a hobby or as a way to relax and unwind. The maobi used today are often made from a combination of animal hair and synthetic materials, and come in a wide range of styles and sizes.

  In conclusion, the history of maobi and calligraphy in China is a long and fascinating one, filled with innovation, creativity, and beauty. Whether you are a calligraphy enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of this ancient art form, the maobi and the history of calligraphy in China are sure to captivate and inspire you.

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