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Tibetan calligraphy refers to the calligraphic traditions used to write the Tibetan language. As in other parts of East Asia, nobles, high lamas, and persons of high rank were expected to have high abilities in calligraphy. However, unlike other East Asian calligraphic traditions, calligraphy was done using a reed pen as opposed to a brush. Nevertheless, East Asian influence is apparent visually, as Tibetan calligraphy is at times more free-flowing than calligraphy involving the descendants of other Brahmi scripts. Given the overriding religious nature of Tibetan culture, many of the traditions in calligraphy come from religious texts, and most Tibetan scribes have a monastic background.
A variety of different styles of calligraphy existed in Tibet:
The vertical Phags-pa script is known as horyig (ཧོར་ཡིག་hor-yig, "Mongolian letters"). A more ornamental version of the horyig style was used in the past to make personal seals. It is often found written vertically as opposed to horizontally.
These styles are not fixed, and are not limited to those listed above. By mixing features of various styles, and adding various ornaments to the text, the number of styles becomes quite large. While ujain may be used to write entire Sutras or Buddhist texts, the rest of the styles are more frequently used to write a single phrase or saying.
The world record for the longest calligraphy scroll is held by Jamyang Dorjee Chakrishar, who penned a 163.2 meter scroll containing 65,000 Tibetan characters. The scroll contains prayers for the 14th Dalai Lama composed by 32 different monks.
Many alphabets have been devised for the Mongolian language over the centuries, and from a variety of scripts. The oldest, called simply the Mongolian script, has been the predominant script during most of Mongolian history, and is still in active use today in the Inner Mongolia region of China and de facto use in Mongolia. It has in turn spawned several alphabets, either as attempts to fix its perceived shortcomings, or to allow the notation of other languages, such as Sanskrit and Tibetan. In the 20th century, Mongolia first switched to the Latin script, and then almost immediately replaced it with the Cyrillic script for compatibility with the Soviet Union, its political ally of the time. Mongol Chinese in Inner Mongolia and other parts of China, on the other hand, continue to use alphabets based on the traditional Mongolian script.
Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad-tipped instrument, brush, or other writing instrument. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner".
Regular script, also called 正楷, 真書 (zhēnshū), 楷體 (kǎitǐ) and 正書 (zhèngshū), is the newest of the Chinese script styles. It is the most common style in modern writings and third most common in publications.
Stroke order refers to the order in which the strokes of a Chinese character are written. A stroke is a movement of a writing instrument on a writing surface. Chinese characters are used in various forms in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and formerly Vietnamese. They are known as Hanzi in (Mandarin) Chinese, kanji in Japanese (かんじ), Hanja in Korean (한자) and Chữ Hán in Vietnamese. Stroke order is also attested in other logographic scripts, e.g. cuneiform.
Uchen is the upright, block style of the Tibetan alphabet. The name means "with a head," and is the style of the script used for printing and for formal manuscripts.
A tulku is a reincarnate custodian of a specific lineage of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism who is given empowerments and trained from a young age by students of his or her predecessor.
Nastaʼlīq is one of the main calligraphic hands used in writing the Persian alphabet and the Urdu alphabet, and traditionally the predominant style in Persian calligraphy. It was developed in Iran in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is sometimes used to write Arabic language text, but its use has always been more popular in the Persian, Urdu and Turkic sphere of influence. Nastaliq remains very widely used in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and other countries for written poetry and as a form of art.
Islamic calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting and calligraphy, based upon the alphabet in the lands sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage. It includes Arabic, Ottoman, Persian, Pakistan and Indian calligraphy. It is known in Arabic as khatt Islami, meaning Islamic line, design, or construction.
Chinese calligraphy is the writing of Chinese characters as an art form, combining purely visual art and interpretation of the literary meaning. This type of expression has been widely practiced in China and has been generally held in high esteem across East Asia. Calligraphy is considered as one of the four best friends of ancient Chinese literati, along with playing stringed musical instruments, the board game "Go", and painting. There are some general standardizations of the various styles of calligraphy in this tradition. Chinese calligraphy and ink and wash painting are closely related: they are accomplished using similar tools and techniques, and have a long history of shared artistry. Distinguishing features of Chinese painting and calligraphy include an emphasis on motion charged with dynamic life. According to Stanley-Baker, "Calligraphy is sheer life experienced through energy in motion that is registered as traces on silk or paper, with time and rhythm in shifting space its main ingredients." Calligraphy has also led to the development of many forms of art in China, including seal carving, ornate paperweights, and inkstones.
Japanese calligraphy also called shūji (習字) is a form of calligraphy, or artistic writing, of the Japanese language. For a long time, the most esteemed calligrapher in Japan had been Wang Xizhi, a Chinese calligrapher from the 4th century, but after the invention of Hiragana and Katakana, the Japanese unique syllabaries, the distinctive Japanese writing system developed and calligraphers produced styles intrinsic to Japan. The term shodō is of Chinese origin as it is widely used to describe the art of Chinese calligraphy during the medieval Tang dynasty.
Italic script, also known as chancery cursive, is a semi-cursive, slightly sloped style of handwriting and calligraphy that was developed during the Renaissance in Italy. It is one of the most popular styles used in contemporary Western calligraphy, and is often one of the first scripts learned by beginning calligraphers.
The ʼPhags-pa script is an alphabet designed by the Tibetan monk and State Preceptor Drogön Chögyal Phagpa for Kublai Khan, the founder of the Yuan dynasty, as a unified script for the written languages within the Yuan. The actual use of this script was limited to about a hundred years during the Mongol Yuan dynasty, and it fell out of use with the advent of the Ming dynasty.
Thuluth is a script variety of Islamic calligraphy invented by Ibn Muqlah Shirazi. The straight angular forms of Kufic were replaced in the new script by curved and oblique lines. In Thuluth, one-third of each letter slopes, from which the name comes. An alternative theory to the meaning is that the smallest width of the letter is one third of the widest part. It is an elegant, cursive script, used in medieval times on mosque decorations. Various calligraphic styles evolved from Thuluth through slight changes of form.
Kufic script is a style of Arabic script that gained prominence early on as a preferred script for Quran transcription and architectural decoration, and it has since become a reference and an archetype for a number of other Arabic scripts. It developed from the Nabataean alphabet in the city of Kufa, from which its name is derived. Kufic script is characterized by angular, rectilinear letterforms and its horizontal orientation. There are many different versions of Kufic script, such as square Kufic, floriated Kufic, knotted Kufic, and others.
Mir Ali Tabrizi was a distinguished Iranian calligrapher of the 14th century, to whom the invention of Nas-Taliq calligraphy style is attributed.
Persian calligraphy or Iranian calligraphy, is the calligraphy of the Persian language. It is one of the most revered arts throughout the history of Iran.
The Korean alphabet is the native script of Korea, invented by King Sejong the Great in 1443, to represent spoken languages of Korean and its neighbors for uneducated people. Initially Hangul was called "Hunminjeongeum" or "Jeongeum" in short. It became the official Korean script in 1894 and enlightened the Korean people to get through Japanese colonization. Right after Korean independence in 1945, Hangul gained the official title.
In Chinese calligraphy, Chinese characters can be written according to five major styles. These styles are intrinsically linked to the history of Chinese script.
Umê is a semi-formal form of the Tibetan alphabet. Other Tibetan scripts include the upright book form, uchen and the everyday, handwritten cursive, gyug yig. The name ume means "headless," and is a style of the script used for both calligraphy and shorthand. A distinctive feature of umê compared to uchen is the absence of the horizontal guide line across the top of the letters. Between syllables, the tseg mark often appears as a vertical stroke. There are two main kinds of umê writing:
The Cloud Platform at Juyongguan is a mid-14th-century architectural feature situated in the Guangou Valley at the Juyongguan Pass of the Great Wall of China, in the Changping District of Beijing Municipality, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) northwest of central Beijing. Although the structure looks like a gateway, it was originally the base for three white dagobas or stupas, with a passage through it, a type of structure known as a "crossing street tower". The platform is renowned for its Buddhist carvings and for its Buddhist inscriptions in six languages. The Cloud Platform was the 98th site included in the first batch of 180 Major Historical and Cultural Sites Protected at the National Level as designated by the State Council of China in April 1961.