Chinese Calligraphy Artworks and Masters – Li Si (李斯 / Li Ssu): Minister of Qin


A Brief Biography of Li Si (李斯/Li Ssu)

In the history of the Chinese written language, few individuals have had as deep or lasting impact as Li Si. While it is unknown exactly when he was born, Li Si would, at a remarkably young age, become a figure central to the chaotic era that saw the first unification of China. Receiving instruction from the great Confucian philosopher Xun Zi (荀子/Hsun Tsu), Li Si moved to the state of Qin and was accepted as a counsellor of King Zheng (glossary: Qin Shi Huang) who would go on to conquer the other Chinese states and become the first Emperor.

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Chinese Calligraphy Artworks and Masters: Traditional Application of Calligraphy Artworks in Chinese Culture


The Role of Calligraphy Artworks for Chinese Holidays and Special Events

Just as in Western cultures, part of special events and holidays is the exchange of pleasantries. These traditional sayings are often quite short. One thing you’ll find when beginning to study Chinese culture is a certain tendency to try and reduce common experiences and sentiments to the smallest number of characters possible. The number of four character sayings in Chinese is quite remarkable. For the aspiring calligrapher, this makes it easy to express your wishes in a traditional way when giving people cards, scrolls or framed works to commemorate specific events.

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Chinese Calligraphy Artworks and Masters The Role of the Master Calligraphers in Chinese Calligraphy


Artistic Excellence: the Definition of a Master in the Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy

Even a cursory study of Chinese Art, both in painting and calligraphy, must at some point deal with the personalities who shaped artistic values across history. The styles of individual artists have been central to the traditional arts of China since the Han, and as a result, personal style and emulation have been more important in China than they were in the West. While antique styles have endured in the West, in China these styles can be traced back far more readily to individual persons than to more abstract aesthetic principles.

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Chinese Calligraphy Artworks and Masters – Zhang Zhi (張芝/Chang Chih): Ancient Master


A Short Biography of Zhang Zhi (張芝/Chang Chih)

When dealing with the origins of Chinese Clligraphy, it is often difficult to find existent examples of ancient calligraphy that can be verifiably attributed to the correct artist. Such is the case with Zhang Zhi. Most of what we know about him comes in the form of much later criticism of his works. In fact, no-one has yet been able to determine exactly when he was born. The date of his death in 192 CE, however, places him in the waning years of the Han Dynasty. Moreover, historians are relatively certain that he was born in Yuanquan County, Dunhuang Province (present-day Jiuquan, Guansu Province) in the northwest of China.

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Chinese Calligraphy Artworks and Masters – Sun Guo Ting (孫過庭/Sun Kuo T’ing): Paragon of Calligraphy


A Short Biography of Sun Guo Ting (孫過庭/Sun Kuo T’ing)

The Tang Dynasty is well known as the era in which the Chinese calligraphy tradition both established its roots firmly in the society, and achieved some of its most sublime heights. While much of the groundwork for this calligraphic revolution was accomplished by such early court figures as Ouyang Xun (歐陽詢/ Ou-yang Hsün, 557-641 CE) and Yu Shinan (虞世南/Yü Shih-nan, 558-638), Sun Guoting (646-691) might be said to epitomize the idea of the amateur Tang calligraphy master.

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