More tutorials on clerical script can be found here.
Generally speaking, the structure of Chinese characters in clerical script (隷書) is squat, and horizontally rectangular.
However, this rule mainly applies to the mature clerical script (八分隷). The characters in ancient clerical script (古隷) were often oblong, just like the script they evolved from - the seal script (篆書). In addition, the initial oblong structures of characters was imposed by the material they were written on - the long bamboo slips (木簡), although there4 were exceptions. One needs to remember that wooden slips were the most common writing material (aside silk), until the invention of paper around 3rd century B.C.E. The so called Age of Bamboo Slips lasted for some 2000 years.
Together with the appearance of the silkworm head and goose tail strokes (蠶頭雁尾) in clerical script, the characters become wider and flatter. If you compare the shape of the character 天 (sky / void) in standard script (楷書) and clerical script (see the picture, above, and the video, below), you will surely notice the substantial structural differences The balancing of the clerical script is also different. Most of the vertical stroke are not only parallel to one another, but also at 90 degrees (or nearly 90 degrees) to the vertical strokes.
Most of the greatest masterpieces of Chinese calligraphy were written in mature clerical script, during the Han Dynasty (漢朝, 206 BC – 220 C.E.). For this reason the structure of clerical script is mostly remembered as wide and squat.
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