Friday, January 28, 2011

Small Seal Script Calligraphy 小篆书法

Li Si's Small Seal Script 李斯的篆书
The Small Seal script, or the Lesser Seal script, is based on Large Seal scripts and emphasizes regulation and simplification. As such, it can be considered to be the first standardized script.
The biggest characteristic of Small Seal script is its round strokes. As the round brush technique was used to write it, the strokes have the same thickness and seem soft, round, fine and glossy, but actually full of tenacity. Generally speaking, it has level horizontal strokes and plump vertical strokes to ensure an aesthetic distribution of the characters in the writing space. The characters are think and tall.
The normative and regular characteristic of Small Seal script is the product of the unified politics in the Qin dynasty. It lost its foundation for development after the collapse of Qin dynasty. Besides political reason, it had its own disadvantages. Its requirement of regularity and orderliness hindered its writing rapidity; it is not simple enough to meet the needs of the era.
The Prime Minister Li Si is said to be the originator of the Small Seal script. His Small Seal script was written by following strictly the rule of centered-tip technique, his strokes were all plump and shapely, and with the beauty of strength and flexibility. He had integrated into Small Seal script a beauty of ornament. Under his pen, curves with different radian and lines with different length were tactfully assembled into characters with the same decorating beauty as picture. The famous Stone Tablet of Mount Yi is said to be written by him.
Sun Guoting of the Tang dynasty said that the artistic character of Small Seal script was flexible, elegant and mellifluent. And the calligraphic style of Small Seal created by Li Si is very influential and considered as standard by calligraphers of later generations.


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