The earliest examples of calligraphy come from China, where the art form was practiced as far back as 2,000 B.C. Early examples of Chinese calligraphy display a great deal of variation in character shape due to the lack of a standardized writing system.
In 220 B.C., Emperor Qin Shi Huang imposed a unified writing system on the people of the Chinese basin. This led to the development of the Lìshu style of calligraphy, which is still in use in some areas. Around 330 B.C., the court calligrapher Wang Xizhi developed the even more regularized Kaishu style. Kaishu was the preferred style of Emperor Mingzong, who encouraged its popularity. As of 2014, Kaishu is still a popular Chinese style of calligraphy.