Sung Dynasty (960 - 1179)
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Sung Dynasty Territory
Sung Dynasty was rich in cultural heritage but weak in national defense.
Perhaps because of the indirect influence of the Sung Dynasty’s weak military
power, calligraphy could not be compared on the same level with the Jin and Tang
Dynasties. This was also due to
the Sung emperors’ favor of painting
and neglect of calligraphy. This is one of the reasons why there were more
master calligraphers in the earlier dynasties.
had a great influence on Chinese society development. It neglected science and
technology. In the ancient China, the ordinary people could become a government officer by
writing good articles with beautiful calligraphy in the civil service
examinations. They eventually ranked higher than those officers with martial arts
abilities and military achievements. Calligraphy played a vital role in the
civil service examination system, and the examination was the only way for
most people to become a noble class.
of the four famous calligraphers of the Sung Dynasty, Su Shi, Huang Ting-Jiang,
Mi Fu and Tsai Hsiang, invented their own styles based on studying Yen Jen-Ching’s
during their early lifetime. Among the Four Great Master of Sung calligraphy, Mi Fu was considered the best
for his brushstroke skills.
Su Shi ( 蘇軾 ) 1037-1101
He was more capable in literature and poetry than in
Huang Ting-Jian ( 黃庭堅 ) 1045-1105
His Running & Walking Styles of calligraphy were expressive. His filial piety was featured in the book “The Twenty-Four Filial Piety Stories.”
Mi Fu ( 米芾 ) 1051-1107
He was widely considered the best calligrapher in the Sung Dynasty. He specialized in the Hanging Arm Technique in operating a brush to generate unique flowing and connecting effects in Walking and Running Styles. Some say that he could not compete with calligraphers in the Tang Dynasty; others say that his skills actually exceeded most of them. He was also a good painter and connoisseur. He had copied some ancient masterpieces and even tricked some connoisseurs as well as collectors.
work was sold for U.S. $3,988,997 in an auction in 2002.
Wang Hsian-Chih's writing presumably copied by Mi Fu
|Tsai Hsiang ( 蔡襄 ) 1012-1067
He was also a politician and scholar. His achievement in Hsin Style was considered higher than in his Kai Style.
Yueh Fei ( 岳飛 ) 1103-1142
A national hero in Chinese history, he also invented Mind Form Boxing ”Hsing Yi Chuan ( 形意拳 )” which was once forbidden by the government as a powerful martial arts style. Shown here is the famous General Yueh Fei’s writing “Give back my land!”
More about Yueh Fei: www.chiculture.net/php/frame.php?id=/cnsweb/html/0111
Emperor Hui Zong ( 宋徽宗 ) 1082-1135
He invented the Skinny Golden Style ( 瘦金體 ) calligraphy. He was also an extremely renowned painter.
Emperor Gao Zong ( 宋高宗 ) 1107-1187
The 9th son of Hui Zong. He gave up learning Huang Ting-Jian’s and Mi Fu’s calligraphy and later focused mainly on the calligraphy styles of the Two Wangs (Wang Hsi-Chih and his son, Wang Hsian-Chih.)
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