Large Seal Script

Shang and Zhou's Jinwen ”Ge You Bi Tripod“

       In a broad sense, the term "Large Seal Script" refers to the scripts that came before the Small Seal Script, such as Jinwen, Zhouwen, and the Shiguwen carvings that have survived in stone, which are also included because modern Chinese scholars believe that there were still oracle bones in use during the Qin Dynasty. The Large Seal Script is thought to have been developed by Bo Yi in the Xia Dynasty and was widely used in the late Western Zhou Dynasty. It is the earliest script used for stone carving and a precursor to stone carving. Inscriptions cast or engraved on various bronze vessels are referred to as Jinwen. In ancient times, copper was known as Jin. Modern calligraphers and seal carvers have studied, borrowed, and used it due to its high academic and artistic value.


       The inscriptions on bronze objects like bells, tripods, money, and weapons during the Shang and Zhou dynasties were known as "Jinwen" or "Zhongdingwen," and they had progressively neat calligraphy, a round and thick style, and a wide range of characters. The writing on stone bowls and drums during the Warring States Periods was known as "Shi Gu Wen," and it had strong and heavy strokes as well as a dainty style. The Qin Dynasty referred to the aforementioned oracle bone, gold, and stone drum texts as "Large Seal Script."

Notable Artifacts

       Ritual Wine Vessel (Baoji Bronze Museum collection)

Two words means "The China"

       38.8 cm in height, 28.8 cm in diameter, and 14.6 kg in weight are the dimensions.

       The 12-line, 122-character inscription on the bottom of the belly of He Zun, a bronze ritual wine vessel for ancestor worship made by the noble "He" in the early Western Zhou Dynasty, contains vital historical data. It is the first bronze object from the early Western Zhou Dynasty with a chronological inscription, and its inscription documents the historical fact that King Cheng of the Zhou Dynasty constructed the eastern capital of Luoyi in the fifth year of his reign. This information is entirely consistent with the historical texts "Luogu" and "Zhaogu" in the "Shangshu," and it contributes to the confirmation and augmentation of history as well as important physical information for the study of t The earliest inscription in this book, Here in China I Dwell, is also known to be a combination of the words "Zhong" and "Guo."

The rubbings of Inscription of Here in China I Dwell



       The term "Jinwen," also spelled "Mingwen," refers to the inscription fonts used on bronze objects during the Shang, Western Zhou, Spring and Autumn, and Warring States periods. It is an ancient Yin and Zhou writing style. Four categories of Jinwen—Shang Dynasty Jinwen, Western Zhou Jinwen, Eastern Zhou Jinwen, and Qin and Han Jinwen—can be broadly distinguished.

       Because of the cast on the bell and tripod, also referred to as the bell and tripod text, the earliest oracle bone text gained popularity after Yin and Jinwen died and Jinwen took control during the Zhou Dynasty. According to research, the Jinwen engraved on the bronze vessels of the Shang Dynasty looked like pictures and continued to develop until the end of the Shang Dynasty, when they also matched the oracle bone texts. This kind of Jinwen extended to the Zhou Dynasty and the height of its power, and Xu to the Qin and Han. The Shang Dynasty, on the other hand, is not well documented, and the Qin and Han Dynasties are at the end of the line. The Western Zhou tends to end neatly and majestically, resulting in the golden age of Jinwen. The Zhou to the east of the king moved into the Western Zhou and Eastern Zhou.

The Rubbing inscription and Great Yu Tripod


       The names Zhouwen, Zhouzhuan, Zhoushu, and Shishu are also used to refer to the Large Seal Script. It was included in the Book of the Shi Zhou Pian put together by the prefect of the late Western Zhou Dynasty and is the ancestor of the small seal script. Another interpretation of the character "Zhou" is "to recite." The text in the "Shi Zhou Pian," a representative of Zhouwen, is the same as the "Shi Gu Wen," which was discovered during the Tang Dynasty and is thought to have been carved during the reign of Duke Xiang of Qin. It was a work to clarify the script at the time and was written as a book for teaching kids in the Zhou Dynasty. Later generations referred to the book as Zhouwen, either in honor of the author or in reference to the title. It served as the inspiration for Li Si's "Small Seal Script" during the Qin Dynasty, and later the Zhouwen was used as the Great Seal Script. It is generally accepted that Zhouwen, also known as "Zhouzhuan" because it differs from the Great Seal Script, is the Great Seal Script. Wang Guowei stated in his "Shi Zhuan Pian Shu Zheng Xu" that "The Qin used the Zhuanwen while the six states used the ancient script" and he regarded the "Shi Gu Wen" as the exemplary Zhuanwen work.

The Nine Great Treasures of the State – Shiguwen from Qin Dynasty

       The oldest stone inscription in China is called Shiguwen, and it is a quatrain poem written in Zhuanwen. A quatrain poem with a total of 718 characters was inscribed on ten pieces of this artifact that were discovered in the early Tang Dynasty. They were each about three feet tall and two feet in diameter. These poems were also known as "Lie Jie" because their subject matter was initially believed to be a description of the hunting scene of the King of Qin. The "Shi Gu Qin theory" gained popularity after Zheng Qiao's "Shi Gu Yin Xu" in the Song dynasty. By the end of the Qing dynasty, Zhen Jun concluded that the stone drum was created during the time of Qin Wen Gong, Min Guo Ma Heng from Min Guo concluded that it was created during the time of Qin Mu Gong, Guo Moruo concluded that it was created during the time. The stone drum's engraved text is mostly residual; when the Northern Song Dynasty's Ouyang Xiu recorded it, there were only 466 words left; when the Ming Dynasty's Tianyi Ge from the Fan family collected it, there were only 462 words left; and there are currently no words on the "Ma Jian" drum. The original stone is currently concealed in the National Palace Museum's Stone Drum Museum.

In Game


       Chinese characters changed into the Big Seal Script in the late Western Zhou Dynasty. Two characteristics helped to define the Big Seal's evolution: first, the lines, which were initially thick and thin, became even and supple, and the lines drawn with objects were incredibly concise and vivid; second, the standardization, the structure of the characters tended to be neat, and gradually abandoned the original shape of the drawings, which laid the groundwork for the square characters.

       Later, after Qin Shi Huang had united China and destroyed the six states, it had a vast and dispersed territory. In addition, the original books from the seven countries of Qin, Chu, Qi, Yan, Zhao, Wei, and Han are in different texts with various writing styles, making it increasingly difficult and inconvenient to apply. As a result, the paperwork is becoming more and more difficult to complete. Then he gave his ministers and employees the order to develop a fresh writing style. Li Si, the Prime Minister, wrote "Cangjie Pian," Zhao Gao, the Chinese Chancellor, wrote "Yuanli Pian," and Hu Wu Jing, the Imperial Historian, wrote "Boxue Pian," all of which were shortened versions of the Big Seal Script. The YuJin Script, which got its name from how solidly it was written, is another name for the Small Seal Script. This is due to the fact that there are more characters available every day. A significant place in the history of Chinese writing is held by the transition from the ancient script to the Big Seal and then from the Big Seal to the Small Seal.

Font Download

Introduction of Font

       In order to create a computer font of both traditional and contemporary calligraphers, Zhuo Xiaofeng, an individual rather than a group, founded Shu Ti Fang, a Chinese calligraphy font development studio, in 2007. From Pizhou in Jiangsu Province, Zhuo is a calligraphy instructor. He possesses a strong and ancient style, a straightforward and expansive realm, and is an expert in Seal Script, Official Script, Regular Script, Running Script, and Cursive Script, particularly Cursive Script. His calligraphy is robust, traditional, and uncomplicated. His calligraphy is based on the Golden Seal Script, a seal script system used before the small seal script was unified.


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Reference Links

Thanks to Mr. Zhuo Xiaofeng from Shu Ti Fang's support and help!

Part of the information from the Baidu Baike, Zhihu, The National Palace Museum, CNKI.



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