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Chinese calligraphy history : Han Dynasty

(West Han 206 B.C.-23, East Han 25-220)

After the West Han established, the prime minister Xiao He was in charge of make the laws. He was an officer of Qin dynasty. So the laws he made were similar to the laws in Qin dynasty. The law required Ba Ti to be the scripts of examinations. (Ba Ti actually are 8 different scripts, including Li Shu. They are used in Qin dynasty). Good remark in the examinations will get oneself good government position. The most useful script in Ba Ti was Li Shu. Thus, Li Shu became the most important script to study. During the 400 years of Han dynasty, except "Song Yue Shao Bao Shi Que Ming" and "Kai Mu Miao Shi Shi Que Ming", almost all tablets are written in Li Shu. Li Shu was developed very well in Han dynasty. In fact, Han dynasty created the best Li Shu calligraphy.

Master Chinese calligraphy works: 

Li Qi Bei, Zhang Qian Bei, Yi Ying Bei, Cao Quan Bei, Shi Men Song, Kong Zhou Bei, Shi Chen Bei, Hua Shan Bei, Heng Fang Bei, Xian Yu Huang Bei, Chao Hou Xiao Zi Bei, Zhang Jing Bei, Xi Ping Shi Jing.

Master Chinese calligraphers:

Cao Xi. Zi: Zhong Ze. Born in Fu Feng Ping Ling (north west of Xian Yang, Shan Xi province), was Mi Shu Lang (some kind of government position) of Han Zhang Di (an emperor of Han dynasty). He was good at Zhuan Shu and Li Shu. He once saw Li Si's calligraphy. He learned from Li Si's calligraphy but had his own creation. He wrote an article "Bi Lun" about calligraphy. 

Du Du. Zi: Bo Du. Born in Jing Zhao Du Ling (Southeast of Xi An, Shan Xi province), he was good at Zhang Cao (a kind of Cao Shu). Zhang Cao was created by Shi You in "Ji Jiu Zhang". But Zhang Cao was mature at Du Du. People of his time called his calligraphy "calligraphy from heaven".

Cui Yuan (77-142). Zi: Zi Yu. Born in Zhuo Jun An Ping (belong to He Nan province today), studied hard earlier. He was good at Zhang Cao. He was Ji Bei Xiang (a government position). He wrote a book "Cao Shu Shi". His Cao Shu is not as ingenious in structures as his teacher Du Du, but is more charming than Du Du's. He is called Cui Du together with Du Du. 

Zhang Zhi (?-192). Zi: Bo Ying. Born in Dun Huang Jiu Quan (belongs to Gan Su province today), he was a noble-minded person. He don't like to get any government position. His Cao Shu is exquisite beyond compare. People call him Cao god. He practiced calligraphy beside a lake. And the lake became black. His Zhang Cao actually studied from Du Du and Cui Yuan but has his own creation. He actually changed Zhang Cao to the Cao Shu of today. 

Cai Yong (132-192). Zi: Bo Jie. Born in Chen Liu Yu (Qi Xian of He Nan province today), he was Zuo Zhong Lang general of Han Xian Di (an emperor of Han dynasty). He is good at Zhuan Shu and Li Shu. Xi Ping 4th year, he asked to correct Liu Jing (tradition book). Han Ling Di (an eamperor of Han dynasty) authorized him. He wrote it on a tablet and had it carved. It was put outside of Tai Xue (equivalent to Academy of sciences). Even in the early time the tablet was put there, thousands of people came to study the calligraphy every day. The tablet is called "Hong Du Shi Jing", also called "Xi Ping Shi Jing". Ling Di ordered workers repair Hong Du Men. He was inspired by the workers and created Fei Bai Shu (This is not a different script but different art effect. It shows the strokes of a calligraphy work don't have to be all solid.)

Liu De Sheng. Zi: Jun Si. Born in Ying Chuan (Yu Xian of He Nan province today), he is famous for the creation of Xing Shu. Although just created, his Xing Shu was graceful and beautiful. He is not only a reformer, but also a great calligrapher.

Shi Yi Guan. Born in Nan Yang (belong to He Nan province today), he is good at Ba Fen (close to Li Shu). His calligraphy was evaluated as "roc's flight unfinished, lightly and elegant".

Liang Hu. Zi: Meng Huang. Born in An Ding Wu Shi (northwest of Ping Liang in Gan Su province), his Ba Fen was highly evaluated by Ling Di. Cao Cao thought his calligraphy was better than his teacher Shi Yi Guan. He often hang Liang Hu's calligraphy in his rooms.

Han dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

South and North dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Jin dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Tang dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Song dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Ming dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Qing dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

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Last modified: 05/09/09