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My selection of Chinese Calligraphy.

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I introduce 25 chinese calligraphy, several of which were lost in World War II, some of which are scarcely seen in published books, and some are pictures of my collection. All might be rare on various reasons. This goes back from 20th century to B.C.3th century. I show detail of them without a few exceptions, because a half of beauty of calligraphy is in strokes.

Title page to the landscape paintings by Kung Hsien(?--1689)(about 1920)

Luo Zhenyu(1866-1940).

Official Script.

His works include bibliography, scriptgraphy, antiquity, and more. Especially, he interpreted many oracle-bones documents as a leader.

His oracle-bone style calligraphies are famous, but I think his official script style should be better.

Province, Nelson-Atkins Gallery, Kansas-city Published, 1920s, Hakubundo, Osaka.

Jade-Pillow Lang-ting,

Wu-Hsi-Tsai(1799-1870). Running script.

Free copies of Lang-ting by Wan-hsi-chih(307-365) were often made. Reduced copies were popular from 13th century. Its nickname is [jade-pillow]

This is a detail of a reduced free copy by Wu-Hsi-Tsai(1799-1870). Wide of column is 7mm. Ink on paper. This work and the collector was burned in 1945 in Tokyo for bombing.

Title page of a Lang-ting(1807)


This is a half of title page of an album of lang-ting rubbing made in sung-dynasty.AD1807. Official script.

he administrated with high ethical standard, and he was praised by the districts he governed.

his calligraphy official scripts were inventive and appreciated by contemporaries and us. This space separation, as Piet-Mondrian I feel, is distinct and tranquil.

Poem" Spring Coming" by an Emperor


Ink on gold plucked green paper. small album. Wide of character is about 13mm.

A typical example of the court style. I think this was a gift to a respectable. Its paper is too fine and calligraphy matches one of his works in National Palace Museum, taipei.

ref. Claudia Brown ed., ELEGANT BRUSH (Phoenix Museum 1985)

Training calligraphy(1790)

Ink and cinnabar on paper. Cursive-script. A scholar Wan-chi-Sun(1755-1817) drilled calligraphy copying rubbing of former calligraphers. His comment was written by cinnabar ink. I show this as an example of average calligraphy in the time.

An essay by Han-Yu:a poet in Tang-dynasty.

Tung-chi-chang(1555-1636) A Master for artists for hundreds years, but a man whose estate was burned for his wicked deeds. A teacher of the prince who became Emperor, and A high official honoured in Nangking, but a friend of a dangerous philosopher. A leading painter and a splendid calligrapher, but a fake-maker. a greed, an hedonist, and the amorous.

This running script seems very attractive as morgan-de -fe.

A detail of his calligraphy, written on silk.

Province: Osaka Municipal Museum

Colophon to 5 horses painting

Huang Ting Chien(1045-1105) This was attached to [5 horses] drawn by Li liu mien(c.1040-1106). In WWII, this was said to be burned, but a rumor said it survived and was hidden, avoiding special tax. Whether or not, I cannot appreciate it, now. Ink on paper.

pl. source a reduced replica made in 1930s.

Chun-hua-ko-tieh vol. 8

A letter of Wan-Hsi-chi original published in 992.

Chun-hua-ko-tieh is the 1st compilation of famous calligraphies as rubbbings. It was ordered by the 2nd Emperor of Sung Dynasty. Its 1st edition was lost. The oldest volumes are in the Collection of Ellsworth and in the Dai-to-ku Calligraphy Museum, Tokyo.

This is re-published version in 1583, Shanghai. rubbing in 18 century? One page of a album.

Lifestyle of Immortals,


Ink on blue paper.

An old copy (before 16th century), in Dai-to-ku Calligraphy Museum, Tokyo. Two copies of this calligraphies survived and recorded from 17th century. Another in Palace Museum, Beijing was sometimes regarded autograph or better version.

This copy was not easily published, because it was written on BLUE PAPER. Most plates like ghosts.

Many seals of collectors seem spurious, but the calligraphy should not be missed.

I coloured this gif from colotype reproduction.

Appointment for Chan-ling-gyan(AD779)

Ink on Silk In 1940, stored by the mayor of Beijing. Lost after WWII.

This style likes another document in Tang dynasty, which was issued to a buddhism japanese student and stored in japanese temple.

published Sho-dou, No.9-2,1940,Tokyo.

A letter to korean priest (AD691-694)

Buddhist Priest Feng-Tsang(AD643-712)

Running Script. Ink on Paper

He is a founder of the buddhist-group "Ke-GON". This is one of the oldest real calligraphies by famous persons.

Prov. Tenri Museum, Nara, Japan

Inscription to The Brick Tower(AD658)

Regular script. Not famous calligrapher( Kei- kyaku) wrote. his style is like the Tho-Sui-Ryan(7th century). It was unearthed in Man-li period(1573-1619), and has lost. Real authentic rubbings are very rare.

This rubbing was stored in a famous calligrapher:Ho-shao-chi(1799-1873)

Plate.Source: Reproduction published 1923,Shanghai

A letter by Yu Shi-nan(558-638)

Cursive Script This rubbing was made recently from original engraving(17th century) in Anhui Museum.

An old copy was stored in Court in 18th century. I heard that it was lost when the Man-chu puppet-government collapsed and the warehouse of last-emperor was looted in 1945.

Inscription about An-Wu-Chi( an immortal).

Cheng Tao- Chao(?-516)

Regular Script. There was a set of 10 Inscriptions about Immortals on the Rock of the PEAK and on the Cliff in Yun-Po mountain. Now, 6 survived. Each character: 10cm height, 12cm wide. Cheng Tao- Chao was a local governor there, he wrote and had one engrave them.

This wears floating mood as spirits fly in air.

Inscription of ROCK-SEAT.

Cheng Tao- Chao(?-516)

Regular script. Inscription on rock at summit of Yun-Po mountain in Shangtong. The last character of 9 characters. 25x20cm for each character.

A record of donation of buddha statue (AD498)

Chu-Gi-shou(?--?) Northern Wei Dynasty

Regular script. One of Inscriptions on the Ko-yang-cave in Lung-men, near Lo-yang,Ho-nan. This engraving was distinct from others. This is relief. Rubbing shows its strokes as black.

This was donated for the dead father of the donator. The father was thought to be Fu-Chi :a brother of Empress Fu.

Ode to Troops

Archaic-Cursive script. Ink on paper.

I cannot find its province. lost? Very old faithful copy?. At lease in 13th century, court had this. This style like to Fragments(3-4th century) unearthed in Tukmarakan Desert.

pl. source a reproduction published in 1920, Shanghai.

Ode to Troops(2nd. ver.)

Attr. Anonymous in Sui-Dynasty. ink on paper.

Second copy of the Ode, (maybe from a common original in 3-4th century)

Now lost or disappeared. Court in Ching dynasty stored, recorded, and engraved this. Mi-yu-ren(12th century) identified it to anonymous calligrapher in Sui-Dynasty. Its style was similar to some 8-9 th century sutras discovered in Tung-Huang. published 1937, Tokyo

Recommendation of Mr. Chi(A.D.221)

Shung Yao(A.D.151-230) Tso-Wei Dynasty

A officer, a statesman, and a famous calligrapher. Shung Yao was regarded as the first and finest master of regular scripts. But, his real works already became treasure in later 4th century, and rare in 8th century. In 11th century, Mi-fu cannot find his real works. In 992, the emperor ordered that many Shung-Yao's works should be engraved on plates for rubbing, but these should be copies or fakes.

This very old copy was surely engraved from 15th century. Perhaps, from Sung dynasty.

In 1910s, a thief robbed from a large collector, and buried in soil. When someone discovered, the scroll was rotten and destroyed. This is a barbarian disaster, indeed.

Recently this unclear plate was discovered and published.

Shu-feng, No.6, appendix, 1984, Shanghai

Stele for Tso-Kwan (a fragment of rubbing) A.D.185

Official script. Unearthed in later Ming-dynasty(16th century). This calligraphy is a typical and tres-raffine sample of this style. Although some regards it decadent prejudicially, I find intrinsic strength in it.

This stele has been well conserved and its rock is fine, and the strokes are conserved well.

Province of the stele: Museum, Si-an, Shensi.

Stele for Chang -Shin A.D.186

Official Script. Rubbing ,19th century.

Inscriptions praised virtues of Chang shin. Unearthed in early Ming-dynasty(14-15th century), Shangtong.

This style is very different from the former. Rustic, angular, and powerful. Who thinks the contemporary one? But, it is. Similar style stele was unearthed, and scholars think this style was trendy in 2th century in Shangtong.

In 19-20th cent., many calligraphers was attracted to it, with its wildness.

Many albums of rubbing is not fine, too dark,repainted, and rough. This album is fortunately fine, though not so old(19th cent.). I saw several fine rubbings formatted in hanging scrolls.

Province of the stele: Museum, Tai-an, Shangtong.

Inscription of Gate-Pillar of Mr. Chin (AD120-130)

Official script. Ornament style. Wide between lines is 75mm.

Original Stele is in countryside in Shezuan. A set of Two pillars has survived, fortunately. These rock pillar copy the wooden architecture.

I like their wing like style.

Inscription on Incense burner (detail)

Official Script. BC 1st century? engraved.

Its original burner was stored in the famous collector of bronze and seals, and antiquities: Chang -hair-chi in late 19th century. Now it has been hidden or lost.

ref. Rend Hong Bronze Inscriptions in Chin and Han dynasties.

Seal(BC 2th century)

small seal script 4 characters. Cinnabar on paper by the director of the Museum which has it. A rare square style official seal. Bronze, its nob forms snake. it was well-casted.

Most official seals which survived are rough for official seals were melted after the retirement. In war field, many seals were abandoned, but they are generally rough. This seal should be buried for an accident.

Real seal province: Fujii Yu-rin Kan, Kyoto, japan

Inscription on Standard Weight(BC221)

Chin dynasty Small seal script. Original bronze weight is stored in Fujii-Yu-RIN KAN,Kyoto. This rubbing was made in Beijing, about1900.

English References

    Tseng Yu-ho Ecke, Chinese calligraphy, 1972, Philadelphia Museum of Arts
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