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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.


As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.