Calligraphy in National Palace Museum, Song dynasty
Welcome to the National Palace Museum's collection of calligraphy from the Song dynasty! Here you will find works by some of the most influential calligraphers in Chinese history, including Zhu Xi, Lu You, Su Shih, Huang T'ing-chien, Mi Fu, and Ts'ai Hsiang. These works range from commentaries on the Book of Changes to letters to Prefect Yuanbo and Officer-Gentleman Tu, as well as poems and calligraphy of the Four Song Masters. Come explore these amazing artifacts and appreciate the beauty of Chinese calligraphy today!
1. Commentary on the Book of Changes
Zhu Xi was a Chinese philosopher who lived in the 12th century. He is known for his work in the philosophy of Neo-Confucianism.
2. Letter to Prefect Yuanbo (In a Pure Autumn)
Lu You was a talented scholar who excelled at poetry and prose. His works had an unusual quality of splendor full of dramatic sentiment. He was the most important poet of the Southern Song period. Lu wrote this letter in the Qiandao sixth year (1170) to his friend, Zeng Feng.
3. Letter to the Commandery Administrator Huizhi (In the Depths of Autumn)
Zhu Xi writes to the people of Tanzhou about the government affairs that need to be addressed. He also mentions the death of Retired Emperor Xiaozong and the ascension of Emperor Guangzong. The letter is written with smooth, flowing lines.
4. Calligraphy of the Four Song Masters
This handscroll has four sections, each with a different example of Northern Song calligraphy. The first section is the "Haiyu" modelbook, a letter written by Cai Xiang in his thirties.
5. The Cold Food Observance
Su Shih, who was from Szechwan, is probably best known by his nickname, Tung-p'o. He was a bold scholar-official who was accused of literary slander and banished from the capital.
6. Poem in Seven-character Verse
Huang T'ing-chien (style name Lu-chih; sobriquet Fu-weng) was a native of Fen-ning, Kiangsi. At the age of 23, he received his Presented Scholar (chin-shih) civil service degree.
Chao Chi was the eighth emperor of the Sung dynasty and ruled from 1101 to 1125. He was known for his extravagant lifestyle, which is believed to be part of the reason for the near collapse of the dynasty and his own demise at enemy hands.
8. On Szechwan Silk
Mi Fu was an official, poet, painter, and calligrapher during the Northern Sung period. He was known as one of the Four Sung Masters of calligraphy, along with Ts'ai Hsiang, Su Shih, and Huang T'ing-chien.
9. Letter to Officer-Gentleman Tu
Ts'ai Hsiang was a gifted calligrapher who studied the style of Yü Shih-nan, Yen Chen-ch'ing, and the styles of Chin dynasty masters.