Tibetan calligraphy refers to the calligraphic traditions used to write the Tibetan language. As in other parts of East Asia, nobles, high lamas, and persons of high rank were expected to have high abilities in calligraphy. However, unlike other East Asian calligraphic traditions, calligraphy was done using a reed pen as opposed to a brush. Nevertheless, East Asian influence is apparent visually, as Tibetan calligraphy is at times more free-flowing than calligraphy involving the descendants of other Brahmi scripts. Given the overriding religious nature of Tibetan culture, many of the traditions in calligraphy come from religious texts, and most Tibetan scribes have a monastic background.
A variety of different styles of calligraphy existed in Tibet:
The vertical Phags-pa script is known as horyig ( hor-yig, "Mongolian letters"). A more ornamental version of the horyig style was used in the past to make personal seals. It is often found written vertically as opposed to horizontally.
These styles are not fixed, and are not limited to those listed above. By mixing features of various styles, and adding various ornaments to the text, the number of styles becomes quite large. While ujain may be used to write entire Sutras or Buddhist texts, the rest of the styles are more frequently used to write a single phrase or saying.
The world record for the longest calligraphy scroll is held by Jamyang Dorjee Chakrishar, who penned a 163.2 meter scroll containing 65,000 Tibetan characters. The scroll contains prayers for the 14th Dalai Lama composed by 32 different monks.