Served as scholar in both the Sui and Tang dynasties. Taught fe calligraphy in Tang national academy
Calligraphers of china working233
Calligraphers ofPost-Han China(focusing on Tang dynasty)Stephen Brownlee
Overview Why are famous calligraphers important? Wang Xi Zhi’s legacy Tang dynasty calligraphers and some historically important script styles (欧体，柳体，颜体) ―Crazy‖ cursive
Why are calligraphy ―masters‖important? 1. Calligraphy/writing represents the self ―An upright heart makes for an upright brush‖ -柳公權 Calligraphy seen as an expression of own’s personality and character. Keep in mind the general importance of writing in Chinese civilization 2. Legacy Calligraphy was passed down through generations firsthand—influential calligraphers established legacies that were carried down through history, even today (in classrooms, on monuments). Clunas describes the imitation of famous calligraphers as a ―communion of spirit‖ 3. Sociopolitical system The most famous calligraphers of their time represented elite - enjoyed high rankings in government bodies, and were also commissioned to inscribe building and palace signs 4. Role in education Calligraphy seen as an indicator of talent in Tang dynasty, and was included as a science in the national academy.
Styles of隶书, 楷书，草书 , 行书 used in the Han dynasty served as a basis forTimeline emerging calligraphers . Calligraphers shown here known for their 楷书 styles 265–317/晉 Jìn (West & East) 王羲之 317–420南北朝 nán běi cháo 420–589 suí Ouyang xun 581–618 Four great隋 歐陽詢 calligraphers of early tang (Yu 褚遂良, Shinan, Ouyang Chu suiliang, Xun, Chu唐 táng 顏真卿， Yan zhenqing1, 618–907 Suiliang, Xue Ji) 柳公權 Liu gongquan2Tang dynasty – peak of calligraphicappreciation, calligraphic theory became source ofacademic discourse.
王羲之 (306-331) Learned from female teacher Wei Shuo, and imitated calligraphers of previous eras. Displayed mastery of the three styles: 隶，楷，草. His works extremely influential to subsequent generations. His son, Wang Xianzhi had similar prestige. Later celebrated by Emperor Tang Tai Zong ( 唐太宗 ) during the Tang dynasty. ―Sage of Calligraphy
欧体 歐陽詢 Ou1 Yang2xun2 (557-641) Compiled an encyclopedia of literary works( 藝文類聚 ). Served as scholar in both Sui and Tang dynasties. Taught calligraphy in Tang national academy. started by imitating Wang Xizhi, then later blazed his own trail Style of 楷书 that used rugged, focused strokes Impacted future calligrapher 颜真卿.
颜体 顏真卿 （Yán Zhēnqīng） 709-785 Originally a chief officer in modern-day Shandong province, aided in defeating rebel armies during Tang empire. Studied calligraphy under Zhang Xu (see later slide). Changed course from early Tang style and created his own style. Noted for a dignified, stately, and majestic style.
柳体 柳公權 Liǔ Gōngquán （778－865） combined elements of Ouyang Xun’s and Yan Zhenqing’s styles to create a new 楷书 style, which is thin and energetic and exceeds in structure and clarity. Grouped together with Yan Zhenqing, “颜柳― - Yan’s calligraphy is thought of as ―sinew‖ and Liu’s as ―bone.‖
Innovations in Cursive Script張旭 Zhāng Xù (675-750?) 懷素 Huái Sù (737–799) [Tang] Drunkenness next to godliness Famous for finding inspiration from alcohol 飲中八仙 (yǐnzhōng bāxīan) 张旭 known as the 草聖 ―cursive sage‖ Innovated free-form, wild, cursive scripts with less emphasis on legibility (顛張醉素) Connection with others arts Zhang Xu’s script is associated with other forms of art including sword dance and painting (Three talents of Tang Dynasty - 三绝) 懷素 received recognition from Lǐ Bái , one of Tang dynasties most famous poets
Take-aways Calligraphy is a both a skill and a form of cultural heritage handed down through generations. Its widespread practice gives it a cumulative nature that individuals contribute to by devising their own unique and personal embellishments. Great calligraphers in history serve as cultural icons as well as points of reference for ideal technique and expressive ability. They commonly possess both an understanding of traditional styles as well as the creativity and inspiration necessary to infuse these older styles with their own aesthetic flair. Status as a master calligrapher was on par with that of high governmental officials – in fact, it was not uncommon for calligraphers to fill both roles.
Discussion questions1. Consider the significance attached to ―imitating the greats‖ as a persistent educational model in imperial Chinese culture. Why do you think imitation was the primary method of learning and in what way might this have impacted the artistic vision and development of individuals?2. Which type of calligraphic styles do you most admire – those that embellish traditional forms, or the wild, abstract forms that innovate – and why?3. What characteristics allow certain calligraphers to stand out from others in history? Why did they become famous?