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Daiten (大篆, だいてん, i.e. “great seal script”)

Mini2:d1_late_zhou_dynasty.jpg"Daiten (大篆, great seal script): | Ink rubbing of the 石鼓文, せっこぶん, sekkobun, i.e. “stone drum inscriptions”), dating of which is uncertain, and spans from late Western Zhou dynasty (西周, 1046 – 771 B.C.), i.e. 8th century B.C., to late Warring States period (戰國時代, 403 – 221 B.C.) i.e. late 3rd century B.C. Currently in Palace Museum in Forbidden City, Beijing.."

The oldest script of the five major calligraphy scripts, which are: seal script (篆書, てんしょ, tensho, further divided into great and small seal scripts), clerical script (隷書, れいしょ, reisho), cursive script (草書, そうしょ, sōsho), standard script (楷書, かいしょ, kaisho) and semi-cursive script (行書, ぎょうしょ, gyōsho). The origins of seal script reach deep into the history of China; back to the end of the Xia dynasty (夏朝, 2070 BC - 1600 BC) – the first non-legendary dynasty of China. Great seal script was further unified in 221 B.C. by Prime Minister李斯 (Chinese: Lǐ Sī, birth date unknown, died in 208 B.C.) during the Qin dynasty (秦朝 221 – 206 B.C), under the name of small seal script (小篆, しょうてん, shōten).

Great Seal script, in the broadest sense, includes oracle bone script (甲骨文, こうこつぶん, kōkotsubun) and kinbun (金文, きんぶん, literally, “text on metal”, more precisely bronze), as well as later stone inscriptions (such as 石鼓文, せっこぶん, sekkobun, i.e. “stone drum inscriptions”). Highly decorative chōchūten (鳥蟲篆, ちょうちゅうてん, lit. “bird and worm seal script”) also belongs to the daiten script family (as well as many other decorative forms of kinbun). Great seal script is characterized by its irregularity of form and shape, as well as line thickness, and length. The characters are not necessarily symmetric, and its writing techniques may also vary greatly. Great seal scrip is also the most “pictographic” style in calligraphy (this does not mean that all characters written in seal script had pictographic origin). To read more about daiten, please click here.

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Page last modified on November 29, 2011, at 10:27 AM