Ti (体) has three different meanings in the study of literature, art, and aesthetics. First, it refers to features that distinguish one particular category, form, or literary school from others. These features represent the overall form and artistic characteristics, including the structure, content, language, style, and other essential elements. Second, it refers only to literary and artistic style, not their form or shape. Third, it refers to the basic literary and artistic form, i.e., the writing style and literary genre. Scholars of literary theory in different historical periods did not use the same standards to classify literary styles. For example, Xiao Tong of the Southern Dynasties classified literary and artistic works into 38 styles or categories in his Literary Anthology. There is a wide range of writing styles and literary genres in classical Chinese literature, each with its own style and writing requirements. The style of a literary work reflects the author’s individual artistic temperament, and, sometimes, also the literary and artistic trend in a particular era. This term is often used together with the name of a person or a dynasty to describe literary and artistic features peculiar to a school of literature. Examples are the Sao Style (represented by the famous poem, Li Sao, written by renowned poet Qu Yuan), Tao Style (represented by poet Tao Yuanming), and Jian’an Style (named after the period of Jian’an during the Han Dynasty). The term is widely used in literary criticism and appreciation.
- 夫人善于自见，而文非一体，鲜能备善，是以各以所长，相轻所短。 （曹丕《典论·论文》） （人总是善于看到自己的优点，然而文章不止一种文体，很少有人擅长所有文体，因此各人总是以自己所擅长的文体写作而轻视别人不擅长的文体。）
People are always quick to see their own strengths. However, given the rich variety of literary styles, few people are accomplished in all of them. Therefore, people always write in the styles they are good at while taking lightly other people’s works written in styles they happen to be weak in. (Cao Pi: On Literary Classics)
- 自汉至魏，四百余年，辞人才子，文体三变。 （《宋书·谢灵运传论》） （自汉至魏，四百多年，写诗文的才子[ 众多]，而诗文的体制风格, 也经历了三次大的变化。）
For more than 400 years from the Han Dynasty to the Wei Dynasty, numerous talented poets came to the fore, and the styles of poetry and essay writing went through three major transformations. (The History of Song of the Southern Dynasties)