Brief Introduction to History of Chinese Calligraphy
Posted by: Herzog (IP Logged)
Date: March 02, 2012 10:15PM
To some extent, Chinese calligraphy shows the history of ancient China. Learning such kind of China's ancient art, the learners will not only need to master the basic skills, but also need to understand the cultural essence of Chinese calligraphy. Then what about the history of it?
Chinese calligraphy has a long history dated to 4000 years ago. No one can tell exactly when Chinese written language appeared. The oldest language discovered now is Jiaguwen. The language discovered before it is Tao Wen. Tao Wen is a language far more from mature. Actually it's hard to be called a language. People think there should be some written languages between Tao Wen and Jiaguwen. But no supporting archaeological discovery appeared so far.
The early period
Jiaguwen is a script used mainly in Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C. -- 1046 B.C.). It's still used in West Zhou dynasty (1046 B.C. -- 771 B.C.) although Da Zhuan is also used at that time. At that time, it already was written very artistically. But people can not say calligraphy had already been an art at that period.
The official language used in Qin Dynasty is Xiaozhuan. Calligraphy had already been an art at that time. Calligraphy works of Qin Dynasty are always high evaluated by calligraphers in history.
Blooming period of Chinese calligraphy
The first blooming period of calligraphy as an art should be at Han dynasty. A calligrapher at that time, which named Liang Hu, once went to restaurant but didn't bring money. He wrote on the wall. People there liked to pay for him by watching his calligraphy. A lot of great calligraphers appeared in Han dynasty. Unfortunately, they usually didn't sign them name after their calligraphy work. There're some great calligraphy works of Han dynasty of unknown calligraphers. Also most scripts formed at Han Dynasty such as Li Shu, Cao Shu, Xing Shu, Kai Shu.
Jin is the dynasty with great achievement in calligraphy. A lot of great calligraphers appeared at this time, including Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi. The South and North Dynasty is also a dynasty with great achievement. There're a lot of tablets of North Wei (386-534) with great calligraphy. People called calligraphy works of this period as Wei Bei, which means tablets of North Wei dynasty.
Tang dynasty is the dynasty that calligraphy is taken most serious. As a result, a lot of great calligraphers appeared, including Yan Zhenqing.
Chinese calligraphy in modern period
After Tang Dynasty, the calligraphy as an art has been declined. The worst period is Ming dynasty. From Song Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, the greatest calligraphy works in paper were kept in house of the emperor family. People rarely have the chance to see them. The only available calligraphy works available to them are the tablets. In Qing Dynasty, a lot of tablets were discovered. That's one of the reasons why calligraphy is better in Qin dynasty. Today, most calligraphy works are stored in museums. A lot of calligraphy books devote to calligraphy appeared in the market.
Re: Brief Introduction to History of Chinese Calligraphy
Posted by: Savedbyhim01 (IP Logged)
Date: April 09, 2012 11:26AM
This is a good introduction of Chinese calligraphy. I have also written a short history of Chinese calligraphy posted at About Chinese Calligraphy for those who are interested in another perspective.