Discover over 3000 years of Chinese history and culture through surviving artefacts, objects and texts.
Calligraphy on objects
In China, writing was rendered on different media. There were talismanic texts on bronze mirrors to avert evils; auspicious words on roof tile ends to invite blessings; personal names on weapons and pottery to signify ownership; and reign marks on bronze coins to declare dates.
Brushes, ink, inkstones and other objects associated with writing and calligraphy have been in use for more than two thousand years. They were often elaborately carved in fine materials, particularly in the Ming and Qing dynasties when they were highly regarded, and sometimes signed by individual craftsmen. Seals were originally used for applying marks of identity, ownership and authentication. After about AD 1000, artists carved their own seals with their names, or favourite phrases and quotations.