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Calligraphy of Political Ambitions and Statecraft :
A Study on Yan Zhen-qing's Regular Script Style
Yan Zhen-qing,Yan style,political ambitions,statecraft,Ganlu Zishu Bei,Yan Qin-li Bei,
|Publication Year :||2016|
2. 按真蹟所見，顏真卿的楷書風格有3個發展階段：(1)學習褚遂良(596-658)《雁塔聖教序》的風格，代表作為《王琳墓誌》。(2) 學習盛唐「官楷」，發展出前期顏體風格，以《多寶塔碑》為代表，表現其干祿之心。(3) 在前期顏體中加入篆書的筆法和字樣，發展出後期顏體風格，以《顏勤禮碑》為代表作。
Of regular script calligraphy styles from the Tang Dynasty, the style of
Yan Zhen-qing (709-785) became one of the most highly regarded styles by later scholars.
For centuries, ' Yan style ' was seen as a climax of Tang Dynasty regular script, and his work has had a wide and profound effect on Chinese calligraphy ever since. However, Tang Dynasty calligraphy critics did not place much value on Yan style, and they did not think of Yan Zhen-qing as a great calligrapher. This phenomenon is difficult to understand.
The main aim of this paper is to further investigate the above-mentioned observation of Yan's lack of popularity in the Tang dynasty. The conclusions are as follows:
1. There are only ten extant genuine works of Yan Zhen-qing's regular script calligraphy, including Wang-lin Mu Zhi 'Wang Lin's Epitaph', Duo-bao-ta Bei 'Prabhutaratna Pagoda Stele',Yan Qin-li Bei ' Stele for Yan Qin-li' and others. All other works are either copies or forgeries of his works, such as Ba Guan Zhai Bei 'Stele for The Eight Precepts', Yan Shi Jia Miua Bei 'Yan Family Temple Stele', Ma-gu Xian Tan Ji 'Record of the Altar of the Immortal of Mount Ma-gu' and others. There are also two works that are falsely attributed to Yan, including Zi Shu Gao Shen 'Self-Written Announcement of Office' and Chu Shan Tang Lian Ju 'Poems Written at Bamboo Hill Library'.
2. From Yan Zhen-qing's genuine works, one can see that his regular script style underwent three developmental stages. The first stage was learning from the style of Chu Sui-Liang's (586-658) work Yan-ta Sheng Jiao Xu 'Wild Goose Tower Saint Teaches Forward' as most representatively demonstrated in his work 'Wang Lin's Epitaph'. In the second phase, he studied High Tang's officially regular script, developing the earlier Yan style as represented by works like 'Prabhutaratna Pagoda Stele'. In the third phase, he developed a later Yan style by adding the seal script brush method and character form, which is best exemplified in his work 'Stele for Yan Qin-li' and Ganlu Zishu Bei ' Stele for Collection of Model Written Characters'.
3. The Confucian concept of statecraft is the foundational artistic concept behind Yan style, and this style has a strong political meaning. It was in order to have an outstanding contribution to statecraft that Yan Zhen-qing diligently studied High Tang's officially regular script (including character forms and calligraphic style) and established the early Yan style. After that, he incorporated the brush technique of seal script into regular script and developed the later Yan style in order to manifest the concepts of 'form-content unity' and 'calligraphy and Dao as one'.
4. When observing Yan's process of developing and establishing his style, one can see that the intervention of political forces and Tang Dynasty scholars' ambition for official posts were key factors in the pushing forward the evolution of regular script. It was precisely because Yan style inherited the pragmatism and utilitarianism of the standard regular script tradition of the Tang Dynasty and did not emphasize the lyrical expression and emotiveness of regular script that traditional critics did not look upon his works favorably. It was not until Yan style expressed a 'fugu' (returning to the ancients) brush technique and style and was able to conform with the popular 'Collection of Model Written Characters' that Yan Zhen-qing's became accepted in the canon of late-Tang calligraphy.
5. The large number of forged works attributed to Yan Zhen-qing has led later scholars to not understand Yan's true style. Many people falsely attribute the 'swallow's tail' calligraphic technique (in which the end of 'Na' stroke of the character splits in two) to Yan's work or say that his works were constantly in flux, constantly moving back and forth in his developmental process. They even praised him for having every stele's style differ from others.
|Appears in Collections:||藝術史研究所|
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