It is said that he left behind a short essay on handwriting, Brush Technique, the very first practical discussion on Chinese calligraphy. However, many believe that this was actually written by someone in the Song dynasty (960–1279).
The notion of ‘no repetition, nor correction’ of brushworks has led the Chinese calligraphers to put emphasis on the how of writing rather than what is being written. In other words, it is the creative or expressive act that should play a stronger role than the actual compositional aspects of work of art. It is therefore no wonder that, in appreciating a work of Chinese calligraphy, the aesthetic pleasure of the viewer is precisely in following the movement of the brush and tracing the play of the lines.
‘To draw a stroke, back the brush quick, and then launch it out firm. Like the wheeling of a hawk or the passing of a roc, draw strokes at will, no repetition, nor correction. In falling stroke, draw like fish in water; in curved stroke, draw like mist around undulating hills. Rolled or unfurled, light or bold, a right stroke is from reasonable mind.’
李斯(- 208 BC) 是秦朝 (221 - 206 BC) 宰相。据说是小篆的创造者之一。他也是个有名的书法家。李斯的篆书严谨呈长形，线条匀称，优雅地伸延，有飞动之势。曲线尤其如此。后来精于篆书者故不乏其人，但皆难入其境。