Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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The earliest known types of script are found in the form of characters carved onto the oracle bones of the late Shang period. The first inscriptions on bronze vessels also date back to the end of the Shang period. All types of bronze and stone inscriptions up to the end of the Zhou period are classified as seal script (zhuanshu ). The chancellery script (lishu ) was first found on bamboo strips which date back to approximately the 3rd century BCE; it replaced the seal script as a common form of writing during the 1st century BCE. Also found on bamboo platelets are the half-cursive script (xingshu ) …

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Ledderose, Lothar, “Calligraphy”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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