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Clerical Script (隸書)

Clerical script (lishu) evolved toward the end of the first millennium bce and remained in common use through the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE). As its name implies, clerical script was frequently used in preparing official records and documents, and it was utilized for both public monuments and private correspondence. This simplified variation of seal script plays upon the use of brush and ink. Modulated and tapered strokes, as well as distinct downward sweeping strokes, are considerably more prominent than the more balanced strokes of seal script, which reflect the use of stiff writing implements.
F1982.7 detail, example of Clerical Script

Detail from a copy of Kong Zhou Stele, in clerical script. View full.

We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.