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Also, numerous theoretical studies were published, such as "Bi Zhen Tu" by Wei Shuo (272–349), which discussed the concepts of flow and law of calligraphy, as well as the various brush and ink techniques, and principles governing the yan (the ink container).

Other important calligraphic articles included "Li Shu Ti" by Cheng Gong Sui, "Cao Shu Fu" by Yang Quan, "Fei Bai Shi Ming" by Liu Shao, and "Shu Lun" (On Calligraphy) by Wang Xizhi.

During the Han era, students were obliged to use "Ba Ti" clerical scripts in state exams.

Ba Ti was a group of 8 different scripts, of which the most useful was Li-shu.

For centuries it has been regarded as the highest form of Chinese painting, and shares many features of Chinese wash-painting, which is performed using similar implements and materials. For historical context, see: Chinese Art Timeline (c.18,000 BCE - present).

In addition, it has influenced many styles of Asian art, including "sumi-e", a type of Chinese and Japanese art (painting) based entirely on calligraphy. Although practised in rudimentary forms since the 16th century BCE, it was not until the publication of a series of articles towards the end of the era of Han Dynasty art, that the foundations for Chinese calligraphy were properly established.Calligraphy requires decades of dedicated study to achieve mastery. Japanese: kaisho)From its earliest origins dating back to the Xia Dynasty culture (2100-1600), Chinese calligraphy passed through several early stages before the present-day script - known as Kai-shu - emerged.For example, an aspiring student will practice inscribing the Chinese "yong" character hundreds (if not thousands) of times in order to produce the eight essential strokes which together make up the character. These stages involved the scripts known as: Jiaguwen (chia-ku-wen), Jinwen (chin-wen), Dazhuan (hsiao chuan) and Li-shu (li-shu) scripts.Ink and Inkstone The best forms are produced from soot, in the form of inksticks which must be rubbed with water on an inkstone to achieve the correct consistency, although cheaper varieties of bottled ink are now available.Traditional calligraphy is practised exclusively with black ink, but modern exponents also employ colour.One of the best exemplars is the American abstract expressionist painter Mark Tobey (1890-1976), who was highly influenced by Oriental culture and religion.

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