The Road of Calligraphy Education – Exhibition of Achievements in Sixty Years of Calligraphy Education in Chinese Universities
Jul 09, 2023 - Jul 18, 2023
National Art Museum of China, Beijing
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In 1963, Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) pioneered calligraphy education and started China's first calligraphy and seal cutting program. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the calligraphy program of China Academy of Art (CAA), as well as the 60th anniversary of higher education in Chinese calligraphy.


"The Road of Calligraphy Education – Exhibition of Achievements in Sixty Years of Calligraphy Education in Chinese Universities" congregates calligraphy education at over a hundred universities across China. The exhibition is composed of three sections, namely, "Blazing a New Trail", "Carrying Forward Predecessor's Achievements", and "The 60th Anniversary of the Calligraphy Program of China Academy of Art". It showcases more than 360 works by pioneering masters, contemporary masters and alumni, and comprehensively presents the history and achievements of modern Chinese calligraphy education through documents, chronologies and pictures.

This exhibition presents the development of Chinese calligraphy education over the past 60 years, reviewing the history and current state of key calligraphy disciplines and programs started at different times and different universities. It is a 60-year chronicle review of China's calligraphy education, covering discipline planning, teaching and research, curriculum design, and faculty development. The aim of this event is to, through reference, summary and reflection on the artistic lifeline, help better plan and explore future development models and pathways of calligraphy education. Notably, the exhibition is strongly supported by alumni and features a special section "The Road of Calligraphy Education - Works by Alumni for the 60th Anniversary of the Calligraphy Program of China Academy of Art".


In 1963, Pan Tianshou, Lu Weizhao, Sha Menghai and other older-generation artists started China's first professional calligraphy program at Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art). China's higher education in calligraphy made a start at China Academy of Art.

After the national reform and opening-up, the formation and development of calligraphy education at CAA entered a new stage. In 1979, driven by Lu Weizhao, Sha Menghai, Zhu Lesan and others, CAA launched China's first calligraphy graduate program, which was also available to international students. In 1985, CAA was the first school in the country to get the approval for resuming undergraduate calligraphy education. Thereafter, many other universities in China and beyond started calligraphy programs. Higher education in calligraphy flourished in that new era. In 1996, the first Ph.D. art program combining practice and theory was launched at CAA, with Mr. Zhang Zu'an as the advisor. In September of that year, the first doctoral class focusing on the theoretical research of Chinese calligraphy was admitted. In 1999, the graduation of the first doctoral class marked the completion of the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral calligraphy education system, bringing China Academy of Art to a new height in higher education in Chinese calligraphy.

In 2001, CAA established China's first independent Calligraphy Department. Thus, a complete teaching system and disciplinary framework for calligraphy have been put in place at the Academy, providing an important reference for calligraphy education in other universities at home and abroad. In 2009, CAA took the lead in offering an undergraduate program on "Calligraphy Studies and Education". In 2022, the Ministry of Education made significant adjustments to art disciplines and programs, listing calligraphy as First Level Discipline together with fine arts studies. On April 8, 2023, on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of CAA, the School of Calligraphy, CAA was established.

Calligraphy education at CAA not only represents the development journey and direction of China's higher education in calligraphy but also lays down the framework and plan for discipline planning, curriculum design and talent training, starting a new era of higher education in calligraphy and modern calligraphy development in China.


Over the past 60 years, higher education in calligraphy has gradually become universal in universities across China thanks to the efforts of generations of calligraphers. It has been strengthening and become significant today. Calligraphy education at all levels, from junior college to undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees, has gradually spread to nearly 300 universities of different types and academic backgrounds. From comprehensive universities to art academies and normal universities, different goals, directions and methods have resulted in different achievements. Teaching and research in practice and theory have been developing concurrently.

Along with the development of higher education in calligraphy, the inception, development and prosperity of associations, organizations and academic institutions have facilitated the revitalization of traditional art in the current era, providing space for calligraphy professionals from universities to showcase their talents. Professional groups and associations like the Chinese Calligraphers Association and Xiling Seal Engraver's Society also play an important role in the prosperity of calligraphy, forming a calligraphy training mechanism and cultural atmosphere featuring multi-lateral cooperation and resource sharing, and widely uniting calligraphy educators from universities to carry out calligraphy and seal cutting teaching, research, creation, and exchange. They have further enhanced the calligraphy discipline development, empowered China's higher education in calligraphy, and considerably strengthened the influence of calligraphy art in contemporary society.

This exhibition calls on all like-minded people from all over China and the world to pass down the legacies, revitalize the lifeline of calligraphy art, make calligraphy education a form of general education that unites art and philosophy, theories and techniques, disciplinary study and moral cultivation, a study of the nature and the origin of life, which mobilizes the body and the mind and intuitively expresses emotions.

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