Shown on this page are the Chinese calligrapher's tools of a seal or stamp, brush and ink pot. The stamp was used with red ink by a calligrapher or artist wanting to put their personal mark on a poem or painting.
Most educated Chinese still aspire to be good calligraphers. British Chinese children in Leeds learn basic calligraphy as part of learning Mandarin. In calligraphy and painting, the brush is held differently from the Western technique, more vertical, between several fingers. The brush strokes of each character must be worked in a particular order, and it takes many years of patience, dedication and skill to master this, before trying to achieve a personal style.
Several main styles are recognised, from delicate and exact to cursive, bold and free. Square clear brushstrokes called 'Li Shu', were the standard in ancient official writing. Cao Shu is a 'grass' or cursive style, and Kai Shu is a combination of the clear and expressive.