Calligraphy, “beautiful writing,” is a stylized handwriting using quills, ink brushes or other writing instruments. It can be functional, such as inscriptions or wedding invitations, or it can used to create art pieces in which the writing may not even be legible.

There are four main types of calligraphy:

  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Arabic
  • Western

Chinese calligraphy is based on the Chinese characters and has a long history dating back to the 23rd century BC. Japanese calligraphy uses both Kanji (Chinese characters) and Kana (syllabic writing). Arabic calligraphy is based on the Arabic alphabet and is used in the Koran. Western calligraphy uses the Latin alphabet and is associated with the Renaissance.

Calligraphy is not simply writing in a decorative manner; it is an art form that requires years of practice to perfect. The strokes must be carefully executed and the characters must be written in a specific order. Calligraphers must be able to control the width and thickness of the strokes as well as the amount of pressure applied to the paper.