Calligraphy is a unique Chinese craft that juxtaposes literature and art. It stresses the expression of lines and inter-character layout. Given its close correlation with the scholarly way of life, and its special appeal to the literati, tea often inspired ancient scholars to express their personal experience in calligraphy. Since then, tea has been an integral part of calligraphy and a motivation for engaging in calligraphic art.
Tea drinking first became widely popular in the Tang dynasty. Influenced by this fashion, monks and priests wrote many essays about tea. The oldest extant Buddhist hand note is Ku Sun Tie by Tang monk Huai Su. His versatile and spirited brushstrokes project a subtle indulgence. The characters read, "Bitter bamboo shoots and tea are extremely good. They should be enjoyed freely - Huai Su". This note records how Huai Su liked to enjoy bamboo shoots with a cup of tea.
Song calligrapher Mi Fu also put down how he drank tea instead of wine in a running script calligraphy titled Tiaoxi Shi Tie. The poem reads, "Admiring bamboo in the middle of the year and appreciating beautiful flowers, I did not wish to pour wine and served tea instead. We had endless fun with the Huoyuan tea contest". Here, the health benefits of tea are highlighted.