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.
A Short Biography of Wang Xi Zhi Wang Xi Zhi (王羲之/Wang Hsi Chih)
The influence of Wang Xi Zhi (303-361 CE) on the Chinese Calligraphy tradition cannot be overstated. While there were certainly famous calligraphers who preceded Wang, not one of them has had the lasting effect of the so-called Sage of Calligraphy (書聖/Shu Sheng).
A Brief Biography of Yan Zhen Qing (顏真卿/Yen Chen Ch’ing)
As the Tang dynasty wore on, a figure arose who would redefine calligraphy, challenging even Wang Xi Zhi as the pre-eminent calligrapher. Yan Zhen Qing (709-785 CE) is sometimes known as the ‘second prophet’ of calligraphy. This status, just slightly behind Wang Xi Zhi, is more likely due to his later historical period than to any quantifiable difference in skill.
A Short Biography of Zhao Meng Fu (趙孟頫/Chao Meng Fu)
The transition from the Song Dynasty to the Yuan was a turbulent time in China. In the artistic tradition, one man more than any other embodied the difficulties and opportunities presented by both the fall of an ailing dynasty and the assertion of foreign rule. Zhao Meng Fu (1254-1322), a descendent of the Song royal family, survived the fall of the Song and lived to gain great acclaim as a calligrapher and artist. Although he was linked by blood to the previous dynasty, Zhao nevertheless wholeheartedly promoted the legitimacy of Mongol rule in China. As a result many scholars in his own time and in the later Ming Dynasty criticized him as little better than a traitor.