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The Art of Character Writing

Grade Levels:

1st and up

Length of Program:

45 minutes ~ 1 hour

Charge varies depends on the size and number of the workshops



Boston Children's Museum  Chinese New Year celebration.   by Akemi Chayama

The Chinese writing system is generally dated from at least 1500 BC, making it the oldest writing system that has come down to the present day. A few scholars have suggested that inscriptions found in Henan province in China, which were dated from 7000 to 5800 BC, are an early form of Chinese writing. If true, this would make Chinese writing the oldest form of writing -- even older than Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiform.

Chinese writing is pictographic, and some characters are quite complicated. The writing developed from simple pictures taken from nature -- such as animals, birds, mountains and rivers. The writing has changed many times and gradually evolved into the characters used today.

In 1956, the Chinese government began to simplify the structure of some characters to make them easier to write. Students learn the simplified form at school and all publications in China use the simplified form. Most Chinese living outside of China and the people of Taiwan are still taught the traditional style.

The Calligraphy Workshop

I will briefly introduce the History of the Chinese writing and demonstrate the way we hold the Chinese pen brush and the conventional way to do the writing. Then students will learn to use the Chinese pen brush to draw from the ancient characters into the characters we used today. Generally; the students are fascinated by the artistic and beautiful characters and able to recognize some of the characters in ancient writing. This is truly a great way to introduce students to Chinese culture and learn to respect cultural differences.