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Qin dynasty (秦朝, Chinese: Qín cháo, 221 – 206 B.C.)

Upon the request of the Emperor 秦始皇 (Qín Shǐhuáng, 259 – 210 B.C., lit. “the first Qin (dynasty) emperor”), who introduced numerous political and legal reforms, including reforming the writing system, in the year 221 B.C. Prime Minister 李斯 (Lǐ Shī, 280 – 208 B.C.) unified great seal script (大篆, だいてん, daiten) characters into small seal script (小篆, しょうてん, shōten). It is said that approximately 3300 characters were unified. Aside from small seal script, there were seven other styles that coexisted during the Qin dynasty (including great seal script and clerical script (隷書, れいしょ, reisho). Nonetheless, small seal script was meant to be used as an official writing system. All eight styles that later on matured through the Han dynasty (漢朝, 221 B.C. – 206 C.E.) were known as八體 (Bā tǐ, lit. “eight bodies (scripts)”). Please click here to read more about the history of Chinese calligraphy.

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Page last modified on November 02, 2011, at 10:52 AM