Calligraphy is one of the most known of
Chinese art forms, and as it can come in all shapes and sizes it
makes an excellent gift item.
The traditional form of calligraphy for
display or as a gift is a scroll, often with the painting
actually on a silk base.
However these days the most common
calligraphy item for purchase is the greeting-card sized "Your
name in Chinese" cards which are available from many shops in
Each card consists of two or three large
Chinese characters in traditional calligraphy format
representing a name. As these are for sale to tourists
they represent "English" names such as John or Mary.
Of course there are not really any Chinese
words for these English names -- however a common usage has
evolved for particular Chinese words to be used to represent
particular English words, either based on the sound or the
Occasionally you will also see for sale
"Rainbow calligraphy" which is Chinese calligraphy done with
multicolored inks. These are strictly for the tourists and
rather frowned upon by the serious collector of calligraphy.