Chinese Literati Painting -- Page 3

    The Calligraphic Influence

The "calligraphic" use of the brush became in China a separate art form, and one that exerted great influence on literati painting.  Beginning in the period of the Six Dynasties (220-589), mastery of self-expression through well and distinctively written (actually, "brushed") characters was an important part of being a well bred member of the elite.  A number of men became famous for their fine calligraphy, and examples of their styles were preserved through carvings, which traced their brushstrokes in stone.  Over time, men of literary learning tried to master one or more of these classical styles, and bring to them also a unique individuality.  Thus the medium of writing -- handwriting, so to speak -- became an important way of expressing one's nature and of reading the character of others.  Here are some interesting examples of the art of calligraphy, dating from later eras:

1. The refined and regular style of Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty:

00huizong_zi.jpg (32493 bytes)

2. The wild style of the eccentric Ming [1368-1644] literatus Xu Wei (1521-1593):

00xuwei_zi.jpg (28164 bytes)

3. The aesthetically pleasing uneven style of the Qing [1644-1911] calligrapher, Zheng Xie (1693-1765):

00zhengxie_zi1693-1765.jpg (62921 bytes)

BACK TO PAGE 2                                         TO PAGE 4