1 THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY IN RELATION TO BUDDHISM AND POLITICS DURING THE EARLY TANG ERA By RUTH SHENG A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF T HE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Ruth Sheng
3 To my husband and my son
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS For nearly all of my life, I have been nourished by the joy of studying and practicing Chinese ca lligrap hy. My desire to pursue an advanced study of Chinese calligraphy became a reality the moment the School of Art and Art H istory at the University of Florida accepted me into the ir doctoral program and the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cul tures offered me a position to teach Chinese c alligraphy I am grateful to these departments for support ing my endeavor T he subject of this dissertation, Chin ese calligraphy in relation to Buddhism and p olitics during the Tang era was formulated during the semester I took Mario Poceski s c lass o n Chinese Buddhism I am most grateful to Professor Poceski who inspired and encourage d me t o take up this challenging and interesting topic. I would like to express my earnest gratitude to professors Guolong La i, Cynthia Chennault, Mario Poceski, and Victoria Rovine, who provided me advice and guidance throughout my research and writing of this dissertation They patiently read through my drafts and offer ed countless invaluable suggestions that finally shaped my dissertation. I owe special thanks to Professor Cynthia Chennault Not only did she teach me how to translate classical Chinese profoundly, but her extraordinary patience and attention to my writing and the details of my work vastly improved the quality o f this dissertation. I have benefited in various ways from many professors throughout the course of this project e specially Robin Poynor Eric Segal, Melissa Hyde, Richard Wang, and Mary Watt. I am also grateful to Professor s Amy McNair, Bai Qianshen, Dor othy Wong, Stephen Goldberg, and Peter Sturman whose recommendations and insight s stimulated my thinking during the process of completing this project.
5 My research is inevitably relied on the resources and staff of many libraries. David Hickey, H ikaru Na kano T homas Caswell, T i sha Mauney and Janice Kahler from the UF library, as well as my friend I ping Wei, the head of technical service at the Gest Research Library in Princeton University helped me gather all the materials needed at various stages of my research. I would like to thank them for their support. My sincere gratitude also go es to my friends Bess de Farber and Stephanie Haas who supported me in times of frustration as I complete d my first draft and to Lesley Gamble who not only read a nd helped me edit the last version of this dissertation but also encouraged me to finish the project in times of exhaustion Without their help this dissertation would not have come to fruition nor would it have been finished on time. I am deeply indeb ted to my husband Peter and my son David, whose encouragement, confidence, and endless love have sustained me throughout this long and difficult journey. To them, I dedicate this dissertation.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 11 2 RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL USES OF CALLIGRAPHY FROM ANTIQUITY THROUGH THE SIX DYNASTIES ................................ ................................ ......... 16 Oracle Bone Insc ription and Bronze Inscription ................................ ...................... 16 Myths about the Invention of Writing ................................ ................................ ....... 22 Developments during the Han Dynasty ................................ ................................ .. 28 Developments in the Six Dynasties: Daoist and Buddhist Elements in Calligraphy ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 34 3 TANG COURT SPONSORSHIP ON CALLIGRAPHY ................................ ............. 47 ................................ .............. 48 The Ideological Formation of Tang Court Culture ................................ ................... 51 Yu Shinan and Chu Suiliang ................................ ................................ ................... 59 Tang kai Standard Script of the Tang Dynasty ................................ ..................... 67 Reproductions ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 78 4 BUDDHIST STELES IN THE EARLY TANG DYNASTY ................................ ......... 83 Buddhist Adaption of Chinese Steles ................................ ................................ ...... 83 Steles of the Da Tang Sanzang Shengjiao X u and the Da Tang Sanzang Shengjiao X u J i ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 86 Preface Notes to the Preface ................................ .. 90 Stele of Ji Wang Xizhi S hengjiao X u B ing J i ................................ ..................... 95 Steles of Yanta S hengjiao X u B ing J i ................................ ............................. 103 Steles of Tongz hou S hengjiao X u and Yanshi S hengjiao X u ......................... 113 Stele of Tongzhou shengjiao xu ................................ ............................... 114 Stele of Yanshi shengjiao xu ................................ ................................ .... 118 5 BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES AND DUNHUANG MANUSCRIPTS .......................... 122 Historical Development of Buddhist Scriptures ................................ ..................... 123 Early Development of Translation and the Transcription of Buddhist Scriptures ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 123
7 Development during the Sui and Tang D ynasties ................................ .......... 127 Dunhuang Manuscripts ................................ ................................ ......................... 133 Dunhuang Important Buddhist Site ................................ .............................. 133 Dunhuang Manuscripts Collections ................................ ................................ 134 Selected Examples ................................ ................................ ......................... 136 Early examples ................................ ................................ ........................ 137 Examples from the Sui dyna sty ................................ ................................ 139 Examples from the Tang dynasty ................................ ............................. 141 6 BUDDHIST SUTRA COPYISTS AND SUTRA COPYING STYLE ........................ 158 Sutra Copyists ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 158 Buddhist Monks as Sutra Copyists ................................ ................................ 159 Independent Sutra Copyists ................................ ................................ ........... 161 Calligraphy training of the jingsheng ................................ ........................ 161 Collaboration between monasteries and Tang court ................................ 163 Jingsheng Wang Siqian and his copy of the Lotus Sutra ......................... 164 Jingsheng ................................ ................................ ....... 167 Court Employed Cle rk Calligraphers ................................ .............................. 168 Government affiliations ................................ ................................ ............ 170 Official sanction of copied sutras ................................ ............................. 172 The Standard Format of Copied S utra s ................................ ................................ 17 5 ........................... 176 Sutra Copying Style ................................ ................................ .............................. 180 General Attribution, Variations, and Special Characteristics .......................... 180 Stylistic Comparison: C opyists in De bt to the Elite Masters ........................... 184 Po ssible Influence of Copyists on Elite Masters ................................ ............. 188 Sutra Copying/Reproducing and Merit Making ................................ ..................... 189 Buddhist Dissemination vs. Daoist Isolation ................................ ......................... 194 7 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 196 APPENDIX A LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ................................ ................................ ................... 198 B TABLE OF CANONICAL BUDDHIST TEXTS CITED IN THE DISSERTATION ... 202 C ANNOTATED TRANSLATION O F THE PREFACE TO THE HOLY TEACHINGS OF THE TRIPI AKA OF THE GREAT TANG COMPOSED BY TANG TAIZONG ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 204 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 212 BIOG RAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 232
8 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S FSYL Fa shu yao lu JTS Jiu Tang shu LDSF Lidai shufa lunwen xuan T Taish shinsh daiz ky THY Tang hui yao XTS Xin Tang shu
9 Abst ract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY IN RELATION TO BUDDHISM AND POLITIC S DURING THE EARLY TANG ERA By Ruth Sheng August 2011 Chair: Guolong Lai Major: Art History with a focus on its development s in the early Tang dynasty (618 907). Through an examination of historical and artistic evidence, th is study reveals a dynamic confluence where the value of calligraphy as an art form comprised primarily of stele rubbings and sutra copies was circulated and validated through Buddhist strategies of propagation and the vision for national unification. In the support of calligraphic practices, the interests of the Tang court and the Buddhist monasteries often converged to the benefit of both. Meanwhile in the service of religi ous and political ends, calligraphy, as a practical skill and aesthetic form, was transformed and provides new insight in to the relationship between art and society at that time, and Tang achievement s in the history of Chinese calligraphy. Th is study is divided into five main chapters with the first chapter functioning as the introduction and the last chapter as the conclusion. Chapter 2 explores the development of early writing and how calligraphy emerged from dynamic relations between religion and politics to become a dominant artistic form in early a n d medieval
10 China. C hapter 3 examines the effects of early Tang imperial patronage on calligraphy, emphasizing the intrinsic role that calligraphy played in court politics. Chapter 4 displays the importance of Tang Buddhist steles. In addition to containing highly valued inscriptions penned by elite masters, these steles also attest to the felicitous confluence of Budd ta tion to the Chinese cultural milieu and Tang court political and cultural agendas. C hapter 5 introduces Dunhuang manuscripts, using these Buddhist scriptures written on silk and paper to reconstruct a dynamic relationship between celebrated ma sters and lesser known copyists based on stylistic connections These manuscripts also offer the means to reconcile the value of reproductions relative to originals in the dissemination of calligraphy. Chapter 6 discusses the motivation and high productivi ty of sutra copyists, whose efforts democratized Chinese calligraphy but have not yet received the full attention they deserve.
11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This dissertation examines Chinese e to Buddhism and politic s focus ing on its developments during the period of the first three Tang emperors who were the most influential in establishing the court polic ies of the Tang dynasty (618 907) At this time calligraphy was utilized by Buddhists as an instrument to legitimatize and promote their religion, and served the Tang emperors as a symbol of national unification As a consequence, calligraphic practice reproduction, and dissemination became entwined with Buddhist propagation, as well as Tang cultural polic y Tang calligraphy has sur vived mainly in two forms: inscriptions carved on stones and writings on paper or silk. As most of their content is related to Buddhism, these materials help us to better understand the reciprocal relationship between calligraphy and Buddhism, which, by th e seventh century, was the primary religion promoted by the court throughout the sprawling Chinese empire. In this study, I examine selected Buddhist steles and Dunhuang manuscripts of early Tang in order to investigate how particular developments in Tang calligraphy may be linked to dynastic power and the spread of Buddhism. 1 Buddhist steles produced in the Tang dynasty were distinguished not only by their size and number, but also by the refinement of their calligraphic inscriptions. These steles em phasized the written word rather than the carved image, which was a 1 Dunhuang a Buddhist community ac tiv e from about the fourth to fourteenth centuries, was an oasis in the Gobi Desert along the Silk Road that linked China to Central Asia. Among the 492 caves dedicated as shrines or otherwise used by the resident Buddhist clerg y, Cave 17 proved later to contain a rich trove of Buddhist manuscripts. T he c ave was completely closed at some point in the eleventh century, but discovered somet ime between 1899 and 1900. See C hapter 5 for further discussion.
12 prominent feature of Indian Buddhist steles. This fact suggests that by the Tang era Buddhists fully understood the political and cultural potency associated with this form as they assimil ated into Chinese society. 2 These written words were important both in textual content and artist form The inscriptions on the Tang Buddhist steles, in addition to offering texts that served religious functions, featured calligraphies penned by famous han ds, their surfaces functioning as a primary medium for presenting the specific styles of well known calligraphers. Rubbings from these surfaces were d isseminated and some used as models for calligraph ic practice. 3 As the rubbings traveled far from the orig inal stone, a wide range of critics, scholars, and artists could appreciate the quality of the calligraphy. In effect, these steles and rubbings expanded the prestige, authority, and realm of influence of both Chinese calligraphy and Buddhism. The dominan t calligraphy script used on Tang Buddhist steles was the Tang style of standard script which was developed during the Emperor Taizong s reign (626 649) as he and his court enthusiastically promoted the style of Wang Xizhi (303 361) Th is imperial ly de signated kaifa (the rule of standard script) later known as Tang kai (the standard script of the Tang) was the product of combining two aspects of style, his rhythmic linear regularity and fluent self expressive brush strokes. fication of t his type of calligraphic script precise, formal, yet elegant and full of rhythm establish ed the classical tradition of Chinese calligraphy thus ensuring This great cultural accomplishment was the 2 Discussion on this deve lopment, see Dorothy Wong, Chinese Steles 178. 3 Rubbings with inscriptions transcribed by renowned calligraphers were among findings from Dunhuang. See above n 1 for Dunhuang.
13 res ult of t ability to u tilize his personal aesthetic preference calligraphic style to manifest his political motivation to unify t he empire The Tang government participated in sutra reproduction by establishing standards for the form and quality of calligraphic transcription s Since Dunhuang Buddhist manuscripts are the primary source of handwritten materials to have survived from the Tang and pre Tang periods, they are extremely valuable for understanding contemporary developmen ts in Buddhism and calligraphy. The outpouring of sutra copies was in part motivated by the desire of Buddhists to garner merit and accumulate blessings, but the unprecedented quantity and quality of sutra copying produced during the Tang dynasty was a res ult of strong imperial policies promoting Buddhism as well as calligraphy education a demand to which the monasteries faithfully responded. Many Tang sutra copyists were trained in monasteries and made extensive use of the court codified style of standa rd script, Tang kai which emphasized formality, precision, and consistency. These characteristics best accommodated the efficient production of highly legible texts. Hence the so been associated with the style of Tang kai In this study, exemplary Dunhuang styles of their day. As a consequence, copied sutras contributed not only to the spread of Buddhist texts but also of elite calligraphy styles. At the same time, increasing demands for sutra reproduction and dissemination democratized the practice of calligraphy by encouraging participation from a wider range of copyists and readers. In this study, I also speculate that the sys tematic and widespread distribution of copies
14 during the early Tang era could have influenced high Tang elite masters as they developed t heir calligraphic styles. In the West, scholarship on the Tang dynasty abounds, particularly in the fields of Buddhism and calligraphy, but studies that link them together are scarce. Buddhist scholars studying the pre Tang and Tang periods have tended to focus on the reception, growth and spread of Buddhism in China. Erik Zurcher examines cultural and social factors tha t influenced the growth of Buddhism in early medieval China, while historians in the field of Tang calligraphy, such as Lothar Ledderose, Eugene Wang, and Stephen Goldberg, add ress the establishment of the classical tradition of calligraphy through a lineage of prominent Tang masters. Amy McNair Dorothy Wong, a nd Robert E. Harris Jr. are among the few scholars who analyze Buddhist calligraphy in its social and political contex ts. Although many Chinese and Japanese scholars have linked studies of calligraphy with Buddhism, they are inclined to focus on either steles or manuscripts. One group whose interest centers upon steles includes modern Chinese scholars Shi Anchang a nd Zhu Guantian along with Japanese scholars Nakata Yujiro Sugimura Kunihi k o and Shunkei Lijima Their studies offer stylistic analyses of individual Tang masters, as well as examinations of other related topics such as the political influences and socioeconomic conditions that shaped the production and dissemination of calligraphic works. A second group of scholars, such as Rao Zongyi Rong Xinjiang and Mori Kyosui do investigate the large number of Dunhuang manuscripts pro duced by anonymous or
15 lesser known sutra copyists, but they limit their studies to those manuscripts. It is the goal of my research to examine and integrate calligraphy scholarship on Buddhist steles and manuscripts within the context of Tang institutional strategies. My study is hence organized into the following chapters. Chapter 2 explores the development of early writing and how calligraphy emerged from dynamic relations between religion and politics to become a dominant artistic form in early and medie val C hina. Chapter 3 examines the effects of early Tang imperial patronage on calligraphy, emphasizing the role that calligraphy played in court politics. Chapter 4 displays the importance of Tang Buddhist steles. In addition to containing highly valued in scriptions penned by noted masters, these steles also attest to the felicitous confluence of adaption to Chinese cultural milieu cultural agendas. C hapter 5 introduces the Dunhuang manuscripts, especially Buddh ist scriptures written on silk and paper, which may be used to reconstruct stylistic connections between celebrated masters and lesser known copyists. These manuscripts also offer a means to understand the value of reproductions relative to originals in th e dissemination of calligraph y works Chapter 6 discusses the motivations and high productivity of sutra copyists, whose efforts promoted the popularity of Chinese calligraphy but who have not yet received the full attention they deserve. Note to Readers : Chinese names and words are transliterated according to the P inyin system, with the exception of those that are better known and often cited by the Wade Giles system or other transcription. The translations from Chinese texts are my own, u nless otherwise noted. When the translations of others are used, I have sometimes modified them to better suit the content of my thesis.
16 CHAPTER 2 RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL USES OF CALLIGRAPHY FROM ANTIQUITY THROUGH THE SIX DYNASTIES Chinese calligraphy is an art form t hat developed from a system of writing. The invention of writing in China, as in many ancient civilizations, was attributed to supernatural powers. 1 As the art of writing was perceived to have a divine origin, the ruling class and intellectuals often used the power of writing to legitimatize and solidify their social and political status. The belief that divinity could be channeled through a Chinese calligraphy or s hufa 2 the religious and political spheres that have existed from the origin of writing. Oracle Bone Inscription and Bronze Inscription Oracle bone inscriptions, datable to the fourteenth through eleventh centuries BCE are the earli e st extant evidence of Chinese written characters They consist primarily of records made during divinations held at the late Shang roya l court The Shang people believed that their lives were controlled by a supreme divine power known as the or s hangdi and that the Shang kings were responsible for discerning his will in all matters concerning the country. The divinatory rituals were conducted as the means to communicate with the supreme deity and other spirits 1 For the early writings developed in ancient civilizations, see Stephen D Houston, ed., The First Writing For the Chinese writing system, see William Boltz, The Origin and Early Development of Chinese Writing System 2 The evolution of various calligraphy scripts, and the developments from a writing system to an aesthetic entity see Qi Gong Gudai ziti lungao ; Ouyang Zhongshi and Wen C. Fong Chinese Calligraphy, 1 65, and 415 24 ; Robert E. Harrist, Jr. and Wen C. Fong The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection 2 84. T he formation of a t radition of Chinese calligraphy see Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 7 44.
17 C ommunication between supernatural ent ities and mankind was executed by the diviners ritual specialists who supposedly possessed special power as the spirits descended into them and enabled them to perform the heaven earth communication These diviners were employed by the Shang king s and i n many cases the king himself was the head diviner or s erved as a diviner. 3 At the moment of divination, the diviner proposed the charge (topic of the divination ) which were not questions but were wishes or tentative forecasts 4 These were often divided into a pair of charges in the positive and negative mode. The content of charges varied ranging from military campaigns to the weather, childbirth and sickness Meanwhile heat was applied to hollow s drilled in the back of a tortoise plastron or ox scapu la until cracks appeared on the front surface T he pattern of cracks would determine the outcome of the charge and interpretation s (crack notations) of those cracks were then delivered by the diviner. 5 Both the inscriptions of charges and interpretations were then carved on the front of the shells or bones. 6 For some divinations, the inscribed charge carved on bone was only an abbreviation of a more complete charge proposed orally for each crack. 7 3 K. C. Chang, Art, Myth, and Ritual 45; see also David N. Keightley, Sources of Shang History: T he Oracle Bone Inscriptions of Bronze Age China 31. 4 David N. Keightley, ibid., 33 5 Ibid., 40. 6 Ibid., 45: Contrary to what some scholars have supposed, the engravers did not carve the charge into the bone or shell before the cracking took place, but after The writing recorded not wha t was about to be divined but what had been. Its purposes, therefore, were at least partly historical and bureaucratic to identify the topics, forecasts, and results for which the cracks had been formed. 7 Ibid., 33 n. 21.
18 The inscriptions on oracle bone are aligned linearly but s ometimes curved line s appear With a great deal of crisscrossing those lines engendered a variety of characters. T oday more than one hundred thousand oracle bone pieces with inscriptions have been unearthed from which about five thousand Shang graphs have been differentiated and about two thousand deciphered. 8 These inscriptions carved on shells or bones during the Shang divinations are named jiaguwen in Chinese Shang oracular divination procedures were a crucial part of court acti vity. M odern s cholars have tried to identify a sequence of stages for divinations from initiating the oracular inquiry, carrying out the physical act of divining, reading the cracks, engraving the inscriptions, and finally filing the shells and bones in t he royal archives. 9 It is still unclear whether each function required a separate specialist or if one diviner was in charge of the many functions. David Keightley and other scholars have clarified that the inscriptions were not engraved by the diviners t hemselves, but by special engravers. 10 Th is conclusion is based on the fact that divinations made by the same diviner were often engraved with mark ed ly different engraving style s The name of the diviner was often given in the preface along with the day a nd place on which the divination was performed. The identification of a diviner was essential as it served to identify the officer who was responsible for overseeing the ritual 8 Source from Wang Jingxian An Ancient Art Shines 68; the numbers are various in different publications; as the more recent publications shows larger number, apparently more characters/graphs have bee n identified in later days. 9 K. C. Chang, Art, Myth, and Ritual 90. See also D a vid N. K eightley, Sources of Shang History 3 56 10 David N. Keightley, ibid., 49.
19 that connected the human an d spirit ual world Approximately one hundred and twe nty diviners have been identified for a 273 year period. 11 Since writing s display a remarkably uniform style, it is reasonable to presume that the number of engravers was smaller than the number of diviners. Also because the diviners needed only to concer n themselves with the religious act, theoretically it is possible that the calligrapher [i.e., engraver] was the only person who had to be 12 Matsumaru Michio ( ) research a lso supports the view that the engravers could have been few in number at any given time. 13 This low number indicates the strong possibility that there was a low rate of literacy in Shang society. Those who could read and write became the po ssessors of oracular knowledge and thus they 14 Their ways of making, keeping, and interpreting written records became instrumental to the functioning of social, religious, and governmental affairs. Most of the inscriptions were carved directly into the surface of the bone, but other methods were not excluded. One study points out characters were written with a brush but not carved and t he ink used at the time was originally red ( or perhaps black ) a nd later turned brown or black with age. 15 Another study finds the trac es of ink strokes 11 Wang Jingxian, An Ancient Art Shines 68. See also David N. Keight ley, Sources of Shang History 31. 12 K. C. Chang, Art, Myth, and Ritual 90. 13 Matsumaru Michio K k otsu monji 8 ( source from David N. Keightley, Sources of Shang History 49 n. 108) 14 K. C. Chang, Art, Myth, and Ritual 90 15 Chen Mengjia Yinxu b uci zongshu 13 14. ( source from David N. Keightley, Sources of Shang History 46 47)
20 i n lines subsequently carved thinly with a knife. 16 the same direction and sequence as those used by traditional and modern calligr 17 writes Dong Zuobin While it is presumed that a brush was used for practic ing purpose s some free hand carvings on unprepared bones were also found 18 This suggests that the engraved oracle bone inscriptions were produced through intensive training and preparation. The p resentation and the structure of the inscriptions on shells and bones demonstrate the formal principles of symmetry and balance. T he characters are made predominantly of straight lines which either connect or cross each other with rhythm and order. S truct ural harmony and aesthetic awareness in textual composition are evident from a piece of rubbing made from a carved oracle bone inscription Bingbian 247 (fig. 1), with datable to 1200 BCE E ven though the characters appear flat and mechanical, the complete inscription show s a neat and compact layout rendered with proficient engraving skill. Well proportioned characters with even spacing demonstrate a sense of balance. This kind of orderlines s was maintained as a calligraph ic aesthetic was developed throughout the history of Chinese calligraphy In the late Shang era and the following Zhou dynasty (ca. 1100 256 BCE ), many dedicatory inscriptions were cast on bronze vessels. These too were use d in rituals performed by the rulers In addition to serving a religious purpose, these inscriptions also served political function. T he exact process of calligraphic execution on bronze 16 Da vid N. Keightley, Sources of Shang History 46. 17 Dong Zuobin, Ten Examples of Early Tortoise shell Inscriptions, 127. 18 David N. Keightley, Sources of Shang History 47.
21 vessels is not entirely clear, but the purpose of the casting is ofte n precisely indicated on the inscription Typically they were cast as a king s prayers to his ancestors or instructions to his officials, and were often produced at the instigation of high officials who ha d received favors from the king. A bronze basin, Sh i Qiang pan (fig. 2), is a good example. 19 The vessel, datable to the late tenth to early ninth century BCE was cast on behalf of a high official scribe Qiang On the face of the Shi Qiang pan there are 284 characters arranged in 18 columns T he ch aracters are formed in vertically oblong shape with even and flowing lines. They are laid out in immaculate order with a lucid delineation of columns and rows. The curving lines, frequently applied and skillfully rendered, lend the inscription an elegant and dignified look. The long inscription is clearly designed to serve political purposes as it includ es not only the Qiang family history but also the deeds of the first six Western Zhou kings. According to the inscription, Qiang s family lineage speciali zed in zuoce (making of bamboo books), an exclusive profession linked with knowledge of the past. It is possible that Qiang was well acquainted with oracle bone inscriptions as a practice of divination Nevertheless, in addition to religious ritual funct ions, bronze vessel casting in the Western Zhou was under taken with strong political and social inclinations Considering the massive number of bronze vessels produced and the increased length of inscription s, the number of calligraphers/engravers i nvolved with bronze carving would have to be much larger than those who produced oracle bone 19 The bronze basin was unearthed in 1976 from Fufeng C ounty in Shaanxi Province. It is 47.3 cm in diameter and 16.2 cm in height.
22 inscriptions, but t he later calligrapher/engravers still had to be familiar with earlier patterns of writing. B ronze inscriptions display a regularity, symmetry, a nd balance similar to those carved on the oracle bones. Inscriptions on bronze vessels, however, show an increasing variety of shapes and ornamental patterns. In most cases, inscriptions were written with a brush and then engraved on clay molds, which were used for casting bronze vessels. 20 The form of strokes, in addition to showing variation, often demonstrated vigor and firmness. It is this combination of qualities vital, precise, organic, and compact that makes this style of bronze inscription appear gnified, 21 T his form of writing was later used almost exclusively for seal carving and hence it is named the zhuanshu ). 22 Inscriptions on both oracle bones and bronze vessels are significant for th e study of the religious and political culture of ancient China. They also offer us a tangible as an important art form The stroke, structure, and layout of the characters shaped the foundation s of the art of calligrap hy as it developed in China. Myths about the Invention of Writing The writing on oracle bones and bronze vessels was too well developed and sophisticated to have represented the earliest writing in China. Recent archaeological finds indicate that Chinese writing underwent a gradual process of development that 20 Most of bronze inscriptions were engraved on the molds before casting, but in later stage some bronze 71. 21 Ibid., 7 2. 22 On seal script writing incised in bronze and stone or brushed on wood, bamboo, and silk, see Zeng Youhe, A History of Chinese Calligraphy 21 74.
23 can be traced back to approximately three thousand years before the oracle bone inscription s 23 Myths about the origin of Chinese writing revolved around notable cultural heroes. One of the legends centers on the figure Cang Jie 24 who was a royal scribe at the court of Huangdi the A second myth 25 who was primarily responsible for creating the Bagua ( Eight Trigrams ) 26 The early literature recording these myths dates from the third century BC E. The L shi chunqiu ( The A nnals of L Buwei ) Han F ei zi ( The Essays of Han Fei) and Cang Jie pian (The Provisions from Cang Jie) explicitly name Cang Jie as the inventor of writing. 27 All three texts were compiled within a couple of decades of each other towards the end of the Warring States period (475 221 B.C.E. ) when the Qin State was conquering neighboring states and sought to unite the country. At th at time, the texts authors, L Buwei (? 235 BCE ), Han Fei (ca. 280 233 BCE ) and Li Si (280 208 BCE ), serv ed either at the court of the Qin State or later at that of t he Firs t Emperor of the Qin (r. 246 210 BCE ) after conquering other 23 Cheung Kwong Evidence 323 9 2. 24 For early legends about Cang jie, see William Boltz, The Origin and Early Development of Chinese Writing System 130 32, see also magic 200 15. 25 Details on Fu Xi, see William Boltz The Origin and Early Development of Chinese Writing System 134. 26 The Eight Trigrams is used in Daoist cosmology to re present the fundamental principles of reality. 27 L shi chunqui : Cang Jie zuo shu ; Han Fei zi : Cang Jie zhi zuo shu ye ; Cang Jie pian : Cang Jie zuo shu, yi jiao hou yi Tang Lan, Zhongguo wenzixue 51 ).
24 states 28 In the minds of these scholar officials, the act of designat ing one authoritative figure as the inventor of writing was part of a strategy, initiating a course for their ruler to succeed in unify ing the country by standardizing the writing system. The identification of a mythological figure in the field of writing can be seen as a n ideological weapon that Nevertheless, the characterist ics of this legendary figure, Cang Jie, are not described substantially in Qin litera ry references ; only his name is mentioned. It was not until the first century CE that the Han scholar Wang Chong (27 91) in his Lun Heng began to describe how Cang Jie invent ed writing According to Wang Cang Jie the royal scribe of Yellow Emperor, had four eyes [he] began to trace the footprints of birds and invented writing 29 To be endowed with four eyes meant that Cang Jie was able to observe delica te marks left by bird s and other animals an attribute which even today is understood as representing his supernatural power As a result, he found a way to record all kinds of markings and phenomena which eventually led to the invention of a system of wr iting. This narrative was further elaborated in the last chapter of Han philologist Xu Shen (55 149) Shuowen jiezi the first Chinese e tymological dictionary to explain symbols and analyze 28 L Buwei (? 235 BCE ), the compiler of L shi chunchiu was the chancellor of the Qin State before his dramatic death in 235 BCE Han Fei (ca. 28 0 233 BCE ) served the court of the King of the Qin during the late Warring States period together with Li Si (280 208 BCE ) who compiled the Cang Jie pian and later became the minister of the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (220 202 BCE ). 29 Wang Chong, L un Heng 3.5 b: 5.4: ( quote from Tang Lan, Zhongguo wenzixue 46).
25 characters. and reaffirm an established legend 30 A nother mythical figure endowed with supernatural power, Bao Xi (i.e. Fu Xi), is also mentioned by Xu Shen in his Shuowen Designating Bao Xi as the highest among all the cultur al heroes of antiquity Xu Shen expla over the sub celestial realm, and created the Eight Trigrams of the Yi [referring to Yijing the Book of Changes ] as a means to transmit the phenomena of the 31 Although Cang Jie and Bao Xi are both introduced in the conclusive chapter of Xu Shen s prominent composition, the legend about Bao Xi precedes the myth of Cang Jie. Xu Shen might have intentionally position ed Bao Xi as superior to Cang Jie and suggested Fu Xi s E ight Trigrams as a tool used for communication prior to the writing system invented by Cang Jie. Accounts of Fu Xi can also be found in earlier literature, such as Xici one of the appendices to the Yijing from the third century BCE According to it, Fu Xi is is not mentioned at all It states : Fu Xi s creation of the Eight Trigrams was a means to communicate with the Co responsive Power of the Spirits and Auras and to categorize the veritable qualities of the myriad 30 Xu Shen, Shuowen jiezi 15.1, in Zhonghua shuju ed., 314 : He re cognized that these partiform structures could be distinguished and differentiated one from the other. T hus he first created writing Translation is modified from William Boltz, The Origin and Early Development of Chinese Writing System 13 5. 31 Ibid.: Translation is modified from William Boltz, The Origin and Early Development of Chinese Writing System 13 5.
26 creatures. Having created knotted cords, he [Fu Xi] then made nets and seines for hunting and for fishing 32 The s peculation s about Fu Xi in Xici however, n ever actually identified Fu Xi with inventing a writing system he Eight Trigrams were only graphic symbols that were used as device s to communicat e with Spirit and Auras, and the knotted cords were suggestive methods for recor ding things on earth. In other primar ily a means of communication and record keeping in early society It was not until later that Xu Shen, a Han scholar made the first attempt to link the legends of Cang Jie and Fu Xi togeth er in his Shuowen This connection proved enduring as can be seen in myths about early Chinese writing as from the first century on, the one always carries with it the shadow if not the substance of the other. 33 Xu Shen s intention to associate both F u Xi and Cang Xie with the invention of writing seems to have reflect ed his religious and political leanings. Xu Shen was a partisan of the Old Text School which advocated the usage of the guwen ( old script referring lesser seal script the main script in the Qin dynasty ) during the late Han era. 34 Embracing the systematization and standardization of the Chinese writing system that had been established since the Qin dynasty, Xu Shen aligned himself with a political tradition that name d Cang Jie as the in ventor of writing. On the other hand, Xu 32 Xi ci : The Origin and Early Developme nt of Chinese Writing System 13 4 ) 33 William G. Boltz, The Origin and Early Development of Chinese Writing System 136. 34 Michael Loewe, ed., Early Chinese Texts: A B ibliographical G uide 430.
27 him to magnify the importance of Fu Xi. Xu Shen is known to have written a commentary on the Huai nan z i 35 compiled during the mid second century BCE during the early Han era, in which the pursuit of Daoist spontaneity and nature is emphasized As Daoist writers do not share the Confucian belief that cultural advancement is the way to a better society, th ey often are skeptical of certain human accomplishments praised by orthodox schola rs and criticize them as artificial. 36 To invent writing was not necessarily a n asset; on the contrary, it could be a detriment heaven rained grain/ 37 is recorded in both Lun Heng and Huai nan zi T his unnatural and deviant phenomenon is described as follow: W in 38 In Dao eyes the invention of writing (for teaching, learning and creating written documents) was an action against nature just like those unnatural and deviant happenings Since the intent of Huai nan zi 35 Huai nan zi is a collection of essays, resulting from the scholarly debates that took place under the patronage and at the court of Liu An (179 122 BCE ) in the Han dynasty. The work encompasses a wide variety of subjects, from ancient myths to contemporary government, from history to philosophy. The overridin g concern that pervades the Huai nan zi is the attempt to define the essential conditions for perfect socio political order under the universal patterns along the lines of Huang [di] Lao[zi] Daoism, Yin Yang and the Five Phases. More details s ee introducto ry note about Huai nan zi from Michael Loewe, ed., Early Chinese Texts: A B ibliographical G uide 189. It is known that Gao You (fl. 205 213) wrote a Huai nan zi zhujie (Commentary of Huai nan zi) but William G. Boltz points out that Xu Shen could also have written a commentary to the Huai nan zi before Gao You. see William G. Boltz, The Origin and Early Development of Chinese Writing System 131 n 4, and Michael Loewe, ed., Early Chinese Texts 191. 36 Isabelle Robinet, Taoism: growth of a religion 28. 37 Wang Chong, Lun Heng Huai nan zi 8.4: 38 Huai nan zi 8.5: Translation is fro m William Boltz, The Origin and Early Development of Chinese Writing System 131
28 is characterized as political utopianism intended to provoke the ruler to follow the universal patterns conceived along the lines of D aoism, Xu portrayals of Fu Xi and Cang Jie can be then understood. In summary, the stories of Cang Jie and Fu X i were fabricated and infused with various philosophical, religious, and political agendas. Throughout Chinese history, intellectuals who were aware of the power of writing often utilized the legendary Cang Jie or Fu Xi to legitimize their political power or religious belie fs Thus the legends offer ma ny clues to those search ing for an understanding of the development o f Chinese writing and calligraphy. Development s d uring the Han D ynasty The development of calligraphy leapt forward during the Han dynast y (206 BCE 220 CE ). Script forms like li (official) and cao (cursive) were fully evolved, and other forms such as xing (running) and zhen/kai / (standard) began to emerge. The availability of better writing tools is considered to be a contributing f actor in the development of calligraphy during this period 39 but the force that elevated writing from the quotidian role of communication or record keeping to an art form result ed from changes in the political and social structure of the Han dynasty On on e hand, writing was necessary for the regime to integrate a complex imperial organization, and its broad utilitarian use energized the emergence of new forms of writing. At the same time, a new class of power holding officials believ ed would reveal their moral characters 40 They endeavored to legitimize their political and social status 39 Tsien Tsuen hsuin, Written on Bamboo and Silk, 146, 178 93. 40 C alligraphy and B
29 way which resulted in the transformation of writing into a literati art 41 The major forms of Han writing were lishu (official script) and caoshu (cursive script). 42 The former was used mostly on engraved surfaces, and the latter on handwritten documents. The origins of lishu can be traced to the script of xiaozhuan (lesser seal), which is characterized by uniform size, even spacing, and well balanced composition with tautly even lines. This extremely uniform and regulated script emerged during the reign of the F irst Qin Emperor, who used it to standardize the Chin ese writing system. The expansion of government agencies in the Qin and early Han dynasties however, demanded a more efficient writing script for record keeping. This resulted in the emergence of a new script, lishu in which the writers were allowed to c reate more relaxed brush strokes. The same philosophical and critical trends that influenced the development of lishu led to the evolution of caoshu in which the structure of the characters was loosened and brushstrokes moved rapidly without concern for r igid boundaries. Many calligraphy works produced by Han court officials reflect the political and philosophical concerns of the period. The production of the Stone Classics was one of the best examples. It was a major project sponsored by the Eastern Han government to 41 Ibid., 2 3. 42 Traditionally, scholars identified two kinds of cursive script existing during the Han period: zhangcao (draft cursive semi cursive or memorial cursive script) and caoshu or jincao (cursive or modern cursive script). Sometimes the category of zhangcao is divided in two, referring to early zhangcao as caoli a combination of caoshu and lishu Adri caoshu encompassed both semi cursive and cursive script types and it was only later scholars made the use of the term zhangcao to distinguish semi cursive C alligraphy and B ureaucracy in 34.
30 43 on both sides of forty six limestone slabs. 44 The project was proposed by a high official and scholar calligrapher, Cai Yong (133 192), and approved in 175 by Emperor Ling ( r. 168 188) due to an urgent need to collate and standardize the text s of the Confucian Classics. Hou Han shu Classics] ha ve long been transmitted, and many errors have entered into the text. They have been wrongly interpreted by ordinary scholars, which confuses and misleads 45 Hence recording authoritative versions of these classics on stone for study and v erification was an efficient solution that prevented further alteration s and mistakes. The erection of the Stone Classics was the first time in Chinese history that books were carved on stone T he project took eight years (175 183) to complete. Carried ou t in the capital of Luoyang Cai Yong and many other prominent calligraphers participated in this great calligraphic enterprise. 46 The characters were brushed in cinnabar and written in the form of lishu. They featured beautiful sweeping horizontal strok es which were carved by craftsman directly into the stone. When they were 43 Seven classics include The Book of Changes, The Book of Documents, The Book of Poetry, The Rites, The Spring and Autumn Annals, The Gongyang T radition and The Analects, see Tsien Tsuen hsuin, Written on Bamboo and Silk, 80 for the particular version and number of characters selected from each classic 44 The exact number of stones is recorded differently in various sources ; from forty, to forty six and forty eight. Wang Guowei believes that the total number of stones was forty six that was derived by dividing the total number of characters inscribed by the number of characters in each table for different classics (source: Tsien Tsuen hsuin, Wri tten on Bamboo and Silk, 81, and n. 41 ) More details on Confucian Classics on Stone inscription see Tsien Tsuen hsuin, Written on Bamboo and Silk, 78 85; see also Robert E. Harrist Jr., The Landscape of Words 232 33. 45 Tsien Tsuen hsuin, Written on Ba mboo and Silk, 79. 46 Cai Yong was exiled in 178, and there were many different hands involved in transcribing the text throughout the years.
31 completed, the stones were set in front of the Kaiyang Gate of the National University, located to the south of Louyang. Due to wars, weather and other effects of time, these steles deteriorated and only fragments survive now, scattered in various collections. 47 Nevertheless, the establishment of the Stone Classics was significant, as it not only fo 48 but also presented a textual and artistic account of the B ureaucratic evolution during the Han encouraged additional changes An informal, cursive version of official script known as zhangcao (draft cursive, or semi cursive script) emerged. The freely expressed brushstrokes of z hangcao facilitated writing with speed, which aligned with the utilitarian purpose of efficient record keeping. At the same time, letter writing with caoshu (cursive script) calligraphy was developed among the scholar officials who took writing beyond practical function to a medium for the expression of an aesthetic achievement. The developments in calligraph ic scripts reflect their transformation s within a much larg er realm of cultural changes that took place during the Eastern Han period. In her dissertation on the concerns in prose and calligraphy parallel many impressive developments in other lit erary arts practiced by the Eastern Han scholar officials. Literature was one obvious example In addition to the writing of prose essays, 47 One large surviving fragment can be discerned at Beilin in Xi an Beilin s hufa y is hu 34, and the other one in Shanghai Museum, see Robert E. Harrist Jr., The Landscape of Words fig. I.28. 48 Robert E. Harrist Jr., The Landscape of Words 233.
32 the fu (rhapsody) and the yuefu (ballad) appeared... In addition, the five character or seven character line shi 49 The pursuit of higher artistic achievement can be seen in the ways officials maintained power and influence throug h their moral and intellectual superiority. With regard to calligraphy, it drove individuals to strive for the best possible technical and aesthetic sophistication in writing, to collect and study superior calligraphy models, and ultimately to create a pie ce of calligraphy that revealed a divine quality. Those efforts contributed to the aesthetic development of calligraphy and formed the foundation for the growth of production and collection of calligraphy for the generations beyond The emergence of theore tical and critical literature also contributed to the formation of the calligraphic tradition. The earliest existing critical literature on calligraphy is Fei Caoshu (The Polemic against Cursive Script ) written by the Eastern Han Confucian moralist, Zh ao Yi ( fl. 178 183) not be 50 be a disparagement of cursive script and those who practice it; however, it also reveals how prevalent cursive script was at that time. The predominance and superior quality of cursive script at the end of the Han was described in another early calligraphy treatise, Caoshu shi ( T he Forces of Cursive Script ). Written by Suo Jing (239 303), it states, Cursive script can be 49 C alligraphy and B 50 Zhao Yi, Fei caoshu in FSYL 1.4 : [ ]
33 smooth as a silver hook, o r light as a startled bird ; w ith wings outspread but not yet fury agai n st the bridle, o r the billowing sea foaming up in breakers, Like grasses and vines linked together, w ith plum trees revealing their splendor 51 As this passage illustrates the description of characters in the form of cursive script is often me taphorical, using images drawn from nature. In the conclusion of his treatise, Suo Jing compares calligraphic practice to the archetypal emblems in the Book of Changes, both of which activate the cosmic forces of the universe. He states, In doing away wit h the complex but preserving the subtle, [the calligrapher] does not deviate from the archetypal emblems. Aspiring to the heights, he reorders the universe. Turning to the commonplace, he equalizes discrepancies. In giving creativity free reign, rain will fall, ice will melt. Like a high pitched voice, a sharp brush will move and spread like torrential water. Beautiful compositions will emerge one by one, shining and wonderful, 52 This passage informs us that c alligraphic practice was va lued as the mediation between the Six Dynasties (222 589), a period of prolonged political disunity after the fall of the Han dynasty. The transcendental philosophies of Daoism and Buddhism encouraged those who were talented in calligraphy to turn to nature for more inspiration. At the same time the moral, cosmic, and political values that were so immediate to Han calligraphy would continue throughout the entire histor y of calligraphy that followed 51 So Jing, Caoshu shi, 33. 52 Ibid., English translation from Wen C. Fong, ibid., 33 34.
34 Development s in the Six Dynasties: Daoist and Buddhist Elements in C alligraphy Calligraphy was poised to become an important art form during the politically divided Six Dynasties (220 589). This was a time when Daoism and Buddhism flourish ed while C onfucianism was in the process of losing its privileged position. Perceiving the growing influence of calligraphy in Chinese culture, Daoists and Buddhists deliberately used calligraphy as an instrument to raise the status of th eir respective religions A s a consequence, they greatly influenced the development of Chinese calligraphy, in theory as well as in practice. Wang Xizhi (303 361, or 306 365) a n d his seventh son Wang Xianzhi (344 386) known as the Two Wangs, we re among the most celebrated calligraphy masters in the Six Dynasties Wang Xizhi is considered the most prominent calligrapher in Chinese history and often refer r ed to known by his style name Yishao Wang Xizhi was s killful on various scripts of calligraphy. H is cursive script was modeled after Zhang Zhi (? ca. 192) and standard script after Zhong Y ou (fl. 210 230), while Madame Wei (272 349) was his direct teacher. The Wang family, many members known for be ing good at calligraphy, along with other distinguished aristocratic famil ies from north China, 53 fled to the south and assist ed in the founding of the Eastern Jin (317 419) when the Western Jin (265 316) disintegrated. Wang Xizhi served the Eastern Jin as General of the Right Army, Youjun by which title he is generally known. In his later years he 53 Besides the Wang s other distinguished aristocratic families were Chenjun Xie ( ) Pengcheng Liu ( ) Yingchuan Yu ( ), Qiaoguo Huan ( ) Gaoyang Xu ( ) Nanyang Liu ( ), etc. For more details on the political an d cultural life of the period dominated by these powerful families, see Richard B. Mather trans., A New Account of Tales of the World
35 served as governor of Kuaiji prefecture where, around 353, he hosted the famous poetry gathering at the Lanting ( Orchid Pavilion ) and wrote L antingji xu ( Preface to the Collection of P oetry [ Written ] at the Orchid Pavilion ) which is considered the most celebrated piece of Chinese calligraphy 54 Many of the upper class emigrants from the north, including the Wang s adhered to a Daoist sect, Tianshi dao ( Way of the Celestial Master ) also known as the Wudoumi dao ( Daoism of the Five pecks of Rice ). They were rooted in the coastal area around Langye in Linyi district where the illustrious family of Wang Xizhi then resided This Daoist sect was established in the second half o f the second century and became one of the earliest and most important forms of organized religious Daoism 55 There are numerous traces in evidence of Wang Xizhi s pursuit of Daoism. Jin shu tells us that Wang Xizhi, together with the Daoist Xu Mai (fl. 340 360) 56 was a fervent seeker of longevity. Xu Mai was the elder brother of Xu Mi (303 373), who 54 Wang J in shu 80.2093 101 For the celebrated Lantingji xu see Donald Holzman, On the a uthenticity of the Preface to the Collection of Poetry Written at the Orchid Pavilion, 306 11, and Hua Rende & Bai Qianshen eds. Lanting lunji (Collected Essay s on the Lanting xu) .Tang Emperor Taizong was an ardent admirer of Wang Xizhi Taizong s prom otion of Wang Xizhi s style resulted in the formation of classical tradition of Chinese calligraphy; see C hapter 3 for further detailed discussion. A wealth of scholarship has been produced about Wang Xizhi. For the promotion of Wang Xizhi s style by Taizo ng and the formation of calligraphy tradition based on the Wang style see Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 7 44, and Eugene Taming of the Shrew: Wang H si chih (303 361) and Calligraphic Gentrification i n the Seventh Century For Wang Xizhi s calligraphy and model book tradition see Nakata Yujiro Gishi o ch shin to suru h j no kenky 55 Lothar Le dd erose, E lements in the Calligraphy of the Six Dynasties 248, and Chen Yinke, ( Daoism and the Inhabitants in the Maritime Provinces of China, circa 126 536 AD ) 449. 56 Xu Mai s friendship with Wang Xizhi and his daoist practice can be seen in Jin shu 80.2101 ; Xu Mai s biography in Jin shu 80.210 6 0 8.
36 figured prominently in the transmission of the Maoshan 57 revelations which later made up the documents of one of the most important Daoist manuscrip ts the Zhengao (Declarations of the Perfected) 58 The Maoshan revelations state d that calligraphy was a vehicle one could use to communicat e with Heaven. The central figure of this revelation was the mystic Yang Xi (330 ?), a contemporary of the Two Wangs. Between the years 364 and 370, Yang Xi experienced visions during which sacred texts were supposedly revealed to him He recorded these visionary texts in a state of religious exaltation 59 A century later, Tao H ong jing (456 536), who was also an accomplished calligrapher and art connoisseur, played a key role in preserving and expanding the Maoshan tradition; he collected these manuscripts and completed his critical edition titled Zhengao in 499 60 According to the Zhengao Yang Xi was visited at night by various celestials that descended from heaven who guided his hand in copying the sacred texts with a brush. The types of scripts, mentioned by Tao Huangjing, include jinli ( contemporary lishu an early form of kaishu ), 61 caoshu xingshu and kaishu 62 57 Maoshan is a mountainous area in south of modern Nanjing in where Xu Mi had some property and erected there a Quiet Chamber as his oratory. Later his son, Xu Hui, spent the last years of his life entirely as a recluse on Maoshan. Maoshan had since o lden times been a sacred mountain for hermits (summary from Lothar Le dd erose, E lements in the Calligraphy of the Six Dynasties 255). 58 See Michel Strickmann for close rela tionship and Zhengao and the Maoshan revelation. 59 Lothar Le dd erose, E lements in the Calligraphy of the Six Dynasties 254. 60 Ibid., and n. 42. 61 Zhengao 1.7: The original version of these must have been written in the sanyuan bahui script a script of the three origins and eight connections Master Yang who understood the characters of the Perfected has now transcribed them into li shu and made them known. Translation is from Lothar Le dd erose, ibid., 25 6. 62 Zhengao 19. 240
37 Those copies passed to Xu Mi, and then to his brother Xu Mai, with whom Wang Xizhi Therefore says Lothar Ledderose it can be assumed that the Tw o Wangs knew of the Maoshan revelations 63 In Zhengao the mystic Yang and the Two Wangs are called Three Masters or Three Lords ( Sanjun ). Tao Hongjing compared the handwriting of Yang Xi with that of the Two Wangs, and conclude d the calli graphy of Master Yang is the most accomplished According to timeless quality it is neither modern nor old fashioned bujin bugu and at the same time displays a variety of characters large and small nengda nengxiao 64 The ability to write with variety in scripts and flexibility in sizes has since bec o me the most important signifier of a proficient calligrapher; this obtains for both sacred and secular writings. One of the Jin masters great achievements was to final ize the formulation of the t h ree scripts caoshu xingshu and kaishu which have remained in use to the present day. T o illustrate the essential difference between religious and secular writing s Lothar Ledderose compared the Maoshan tradition of religious manuscripts to the Wang tradition in its formative period 65 In spite of some obvious similarities, one essential difference between these two bodies of writings is that th e Daoist manuscripts were treasured primarily for their text, the sacred revelations while the writings from the Two were esteemed more for the beauty of their calligraphic style. 66 The 63 Lothar Le dd erose, E lements in the Calligraphy of the Six Dynasties 255. 64 Zhengao 19.240: , 65 Lothar Le dd erose, E lements in the Calligraphy of the Six Dynasties 66 Ibid., 277 78.
38 denigration of linguistic meaning has long been the cornerstone of early calligraphy criticism. Art critic Zhang Huaiguan (fl. 720 740) in his Wenzi lun distinguished between wenzi (written characters) and shu (calligraphy) stating that 67 N evertheless, throughout the long historical development of Chinese calligraphy, the difficulty of separating beautiful writing from its lexical meaning occur constantly. A famous eleventh century antiquarian Ouyang X i u (1007 1072) sighed as he battled a gainst himself since he had to ignore the content of Buddhist inscriptions in order to appreciate the calligraphy carved on stone. Although quality of aesthetic form has often been emphasized over content throughout the history of Chinese calligraphy, the distinctions between them remain subtle. This dilemma has complicated the study of calligraphy ever As the spiritual aspect of calligraphy became emphasized as the essential aesthetic principle, calligraphy became increasing l y valuable and worthy of collection Tao Hongjing, an enthusiastic collector and connoisseur of calligraphy who had a strong sense about artistic authenticity, owned a large corpus of calligraphy pieces, including t he Maoshan reve l ations. He a lso exerted a strong influence on Emperor Wu of the Liang (r. 502 5 49), who later became a 68 This was the beginning of imperial court 67 Zhang Huaiguan, Wenzi lun in LDSF 209: , 68 In the Liang Wudi yu Tao Y inju lunshu jiushou ; the center of discussion is the authent icity of works attributed to the early masters, particularly Zhong You and the Two Wangs.
39 support for collecting work s of calligraphy history. A body of c ritical literature on collecting and systematic writings on how to rank individual artists also began to emerge and grow rapidly accomplishment as a calligrapher was (370 442) Gulai nengshu renming ( Names of Able Calligraphers since Olden Times ) one of the early preserved texts. It is the first treatise known to contain short biographical information and critical remarks on more than fifty proficient calligraphers, dating from the Qin era ( thi rd century BCE He paid homage to Wang by saying, there is not a second 69 Yang Xin was a contemporary of Wang Xianzhi 70 son of Wang Xizhi, and studied calligraphy with him. Therefore, was considered reliable and, as a result, profoundly influenced later critics. It is thought to Daoism. 71 By attributing divine p ower to the aesthetic quality of Wang s work, Yang insured that Wang s style of calligraphy became the ultimate standard for evaluation in the calligraphic tradition Discussions of calligraphy were enthusiastic in the following decades. C ritics often use d t he t to identify and classify the highest achievement of calligraphers 69 Yang Xin, Cai g ulai nengshu renming in L DSF 47 : English translation is from Lothar S ome Taoist Elements in the Calligraphy of the Six Dynas 70 Yang Xin studied calligraphy with Wang Xianzhi; see Yang Xin s biography in Song shu 62 .1661 62 and in Nan shi 36 .932 33. 71 Lothar Ledderose and n. 37.
40 and the word spirit to describe the most valued calligraphy. He reveled in vacuity 72 said authoritative seventh century critic and theorist Sun Guoting (fl. 685) as he praise d Huangting jing (The Yellow Court Classic) a Daoist scripture, and the only text in small standard script written by Wang known to us brated Lanting ji xu Sun declare d H is thought roamed 73 In his evaluation of the calligraphy written by Wang Xizhi s son, Wang Xianzhi, Sun claim ed that he 74 Even though this remark is s work it implies that divine is the highest aspiration for an artist. The Song connoisseur and calligrapher Mi Fu (1051 1107) however, complimented s style and pa id special attention to his yibishu (single stroke writing). 75 This form of writing is still utilized to day and is typically known as associated with th e superstitious practice of planchette writing ( H uozhu huahui or Fuji ). 76 A s Wang Xian z hi developed his cursive style in relation to planchette writing, often found in religious manuscripts of the kind that inspired the mystic Yang Xi, 72 Sun Guoting, Shu pu i n LDSF 128: Translation from Two Chinese Treatises on shu pu) ho and Hans H. Frankel 10. 73 Ibid. : Translation from Two Chinese Treatises on Calligraphy ( ho and Hans H. Frankel trans.), 10 11. 74 Ibid., 1 25 75 Mi Fu, Shushi in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu I .964a. 76 Fuji is a type of writing under religious inspiration. Holding a wooden stick in deep religious trance, the medium writes on sand or on ash in a fast movement, usually in big caoshu On the side an aide recognizes and reads the characters a loud, and scribes hastily copies down these words. The practice of plan chette writing can be traced back in literary sources to the sixth century and is still practiced today. See Lothar Ledderose, 8.
41 Mi Fu s intent ion was to heavenly authenticity D uring the third to the fourth centuries, Buddhism began to spread among the migr gentry who engaged in a wide range of literary activities and religious discussions. A so c alled gentry Buddhism movement was formed during this period. 77 Many Buddhist monks became well versed in the arts and secular Chinese literature written by and for literati. This knowledge was necessary in order to engage the elite i n intellectual activi ties such as qingtan (literally, pure c onversation ). 78 Participation in literati gatherings enabled Buddhist monks to acquire the stature and authority of gentlemen monks 79 W ith his extremely polis hed eloquence and remarkable talent for poetry and calligraphy the m onk Zhidun (314 366) better known as Daolin was one of the most famous and representative gentleman monks. A contemporary of Wang Xizhi Zhidun was his qingtan gatherings. 80 The event for a n outing in the spring of 353 to the Orchid Pavilion on Wang s estate. There Wang Xizhi improvised a passage of three hundred and twenty four characters known as the Lantin g ji xu (Preface to the Collection [of poems composed] at the Orchid Pavilion ) (fig. 3 full view and fig. 3 a, detail ) In the Lanting Preface Wang Xizhi recorded both his pleasure in this cultivated gathering and his melancholic speculations on the trans ience of life. Not only did the 77 Erik Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China I. 4 6 78 Ib id., I. 75. 79 Ibid., I. 116 30. 80 Ibid., I. 119.
42 beauty of his prose win him tremendous fame for its literary merit, the excellent calligraphy of the essay was much acclaimed by later critics The spirit that blossomed he Lantin g Preface the most celebrated piece of calligraphy in Chinese history. 81 As a result of his mingling with Buddhis ts the Daoist Wang Xizhi is believed to have transcribed a Buddhist sutra the Yijiaojing 82 It is also known that Sun Z huo (300 380), a Buddhist, renowned calligrapher, and mentee of Wang Xizhi, composed many important epigrams for monks. 83 He was the author of a well known Buddhist doctrinal treatise, Yudao lun ( An Elucidation of th e Way ) in which the ) 84 This statement can be interpreted as saying that Buddha is everywhere and permeates everything, which includ es the creation of art such as call igraphy. Metaphoric language that uses the human body to convey the power of calligraphy permeates both Buddhist and Daoist writings. An excellent example may be found in the seventh century Buddhist text Fayuan zhulin (Forest of Gems in the Garden 81 The most authentic versions of Lanting ji xu are believed the Shenlong and Dingwu The former one was allegedly made by Feng Chengsu, one of the most skillful and distinguished cop y i st s in Taizong s cour t and carried seal of Shenlong f irst two years of Zhongzong s (r. 705 709) era, now in the Beijing Palace Museum. The later one was a Song rubbing, now in the collection of National Palace Museum in Taiwan. T he discussion on the authenticity of the L anting Preface see Donald Holzman, On the authenticity of the Preface to the Collection of Poetry Written at the Orchid Pavilion, 306 11, and Hua Rende and Bai Qianshen eds. Lanting lunji (Collected Essay s on the Lanting xu) 82 Yijiaojing is reco rded in Zhao Mingcheng, Jinshi lu 30.9, in Sibu congkan xubian 48. It is stated that Yijiaojing was attributed to Wang Xizhi, but in mid Song, Ouyang Xiu denied its authenticity. Since then there is discrepancy that Yi jiaojing might be a forgery by a Bu ddhist calligrapher 83 Erik Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China I. 132. 84 Ibid., 133.
43 of the Dharma), which states If you write this hymn and are able to use your skin as paper, your bones as the brush, your blood as 85 Real life cases in which Buddhist monks and devotees pricked their body to draw blood and then mix ed it with ink to transcribe sutras have been recorded in historical documents. E xamples include the Tang monk Zeng r en (812 871) from the Longxing Monastery in Lingwu ( ) and the [Later] Liang monk Hong c hu (fl. 910) from Dayun Monastery in Wenzhou ( ). According to their biographies, Monk Zeng r en pierced his own body to get blood for transcribing sutras, and in total 283 fascicles were produced, 86 and Monk Hong c hu transcribed the complete Lotus Sutra with his own blood. 87 More discussion on the act of sacrificing one s body to garner religious merit will follow in C hapter 6 Some elements of Buddhist doctrine and methods for depicting Buddhist images were adopted by Chinese artists as they developed their art istic forms and theor ies. The distinctive schemata laid out for the strict definition of the proper position of each Buddha, Bodhisattva, and Arha t such as sanshier xiang (thirty two marks) and bashi zhong hao (eighty characteristics) 88 for depicting the different sizes of images and the facial and bodily appearance of the Buddha, were applied to calligraphy This sense of order, which in formed much Buddhist thought and practice, 85 T 53.907c : , . 86 Zan Ning, Song Gaozeng zhuan in Zhonghua shuju ed., 26.667 68. 87 Ibid., 25.641. 88 Yu Xueliang Lun Fojiao dui Zhongguo shufa de yingxiang 2005.7.
44 may have inspired many calligraphers to articulate a method for the practice of calligraphy, making it easier to teach, learn and replicate. When Wang Xizhi decided to teach his son Wang Xianzhi the art of cal ligraphy, he formulated twelve rules for how to create the best disposition of brushstrokes. His Bi shi lun shier zhang (Discussion of the D isposition of Brushstrokes in T welve Sections ) is one of the earliest extant texts on calligraph ic theories on brushwork. These rules were made com pulsory because they were believed to produce the best calligraphy, especially f or the writing of kaishu, the standard script Wang states, There are twelve doctrines in creating the best piece of calligraphy. By following each doctrine, one would be able to set a standard. Once the standard is thoroughly understood without any confu sion one would be able to bring together all the essence to create 89 By creating this method, Wang ensured that calligraphy became a process that could be easily taught, understood, and repeated. The twelve doctrines begin with se ction one, which is how to prepare a field for writing ( chuanglin ) Section two addresses how one may open one s mind ( qixin ) The observation of natural phenomenon ( shixing ) as a way to create the proper brush strokes is the subject of section thr ee, which culminates with the conclusion in section twelve that the actual execution of proper dots and lines to press, pause, or drag should always be carried out according to the rule of nature. It is 89 Wang Xizhi, Bi shi lun shier zhang in LDSF 29:
45 this process that creates an accomplished calligraphe r ( picheng ), the subject of the last section 90 A similar format was employed by later artists, critics, and theorists G uan Zhong You shufa shier yi ( Discerning Calligraphy ) 91 written by the Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynas ty, was an early example W ith his archaic and unadorned calligraphic style Zhong You (151 230) was revered as the leading master and prime model f or calligraphers producing standard script. Later, the early Tang calligraphy master Ouyang Xun (557 641) compiled the Ba jue ( Eight Rhymed Formula ) 92 to illustrate the principles of rendering brushstrokes, and Sanshiliu fa ( Thirty six Laws ) 93 to define methods for shaping characters. An authoritative mid Tang calligraphy theorist, Zhang Huaiguan, wrote Lun yongbi shi fa ( Discussion of Ten Ways of Using Brush ) 94 another example of the flourishing literature on calligraphy that accelerated its growth and contributed to its becoming a major art form. The aesthetic principles formulated by these critics paralleled the Buddhist and creating the best strokes and shaping characters particularly in writing kaishu standard 90 Besides sections 1,2,3, and 12 listed above, other sections 4 11 are: shuodian chuge jianzhuang jia owu guanxing kaiyao jiezhi chalun For the complete treatise, see Wang Xizhi, Bi shi lun shier zhang in LDSF 29 36. 91 Xiao Yan (i.e. Liang Wudi) Quan Zhong You shufa shier yi in LDSF 78. 92 Ouyang Xun, Ba jue in LDSF 98. 93 Ouyang Xun, Sanshiliu fa in LDSF 99. 94 Zhang Huaiguan, Lun yong bi shifa in LDSF 216.
46 script, which has bec ome the most popular calligraphic script from the Tang dynasty onward The clear, precise, and easy to read kaishu was the primary script used for the Buddhist stele inscriptions and sutra re produc tion in the Tang dynasty. As instructions for producing calligraphy were made ea sy to follow, more people could participate in writing, reading, and appreciating calligraphy. Consequently calligraphy became more attractive to Buddhist practitioners and members of Tang court alike, as a n artistic form for disseminating their ideas, be liefs, and values.
47 CHAPTER 3 TANG COURT SPONSORSH IP ON CALLIGRAPHY Emperor Taizong ( r. 62 6 649) given name Li Shimin was the second son of the Tang founder Gaozu (r. 618 626) 1 Upon ascending the throne, he proclaimed his reign as Zhenguan (Correctly Inspected) during which the Tang imperial court was filled with eminent scholars and calligraphers including Ouyang Xun, 2 Yu Shinan (558 638), 3 and Chu Suiliang (596 658), 4 who were collectively known Calligraphy Masters of the E arly Tang Era them Yu Shinan instructed Taizong in calligraphy and received the highest respect from him Yu Shinan had studied calligraphy with Monk Zhiyong (fl. 600), a descendant of Wang Xizhi. 5 Esteeming this student teacher relationship, Taizong could legitimately claim to be in the direct lineage of Wang Xizhi. 1 Li Shimin (599 649) was bestowed as the Prince Qin before he was enthroned on 626 as the second emperor of the Tang dynasty. For his life time promotion on art and liter ature, the posthumous Memorial title "Wen" was added at his death on 649. Taizong s official biography is in XTS 2.23 50. During his reign (627 649), China flourished economically and militarily. Taizong contrived the political harmony by tempering and a dapting Buddhism along with Confucianism and Daoism. For Taizong s ideological strategy on Buddhism, see Arthur Wright, Tang Taizong and Buddhism, 239 64. For the calligraphy s development in Taizong s court see Stephen J. Goldberg, Court Calligraphy of the Early Tang Dynasty, 189 237. 2 Ouyang Xun s b iography is in XTS 198.5465 66. 3 s biography is in XTS 102.3969 73. 4 s biography is in XTS 105.4024 29. 5 Zhi y ong, a native of Kuaiji born during the reign of Emperor Wudi of (Souther n ) Liang (502 549), was the seventh generation descendant of Wang Xizhi, and became a monk during the Chen dynasty (557 589). Zhi y ong is considered as one of the most diligent calligraphers in Chinese h istory. He spent thirty years wrting the thousand characters in the forms of both standard and cursive scripts, known as Zhiyong z hencao q ian ziwen (Ziyong s thousand character composition in standard and cursive scripts) and e ight hundred copies w ere made and distributed to the Buddhist monasteries of eastern China.
48 P romotion o f Wang Xizhi s S tyle an influential commentary on Wang Xizhi s official biography in Jin shu in which Taizong claimed that he had studied all calligraphers and their extant works since ancient time and concluded that Wang s skill w as superior to anyone before or after him 6 In addition, Taizong attempted to amass all the known writings by Wang Xizhi into the imperial collection and train ed the best calligraphe rs in t echniques t hat reproduce d Wang s masterpieces 7 As original works gradually disappeared, the style. D uring Taizong s reign, three hundred year of authentication arose Taizong ordered a committee to examine the works in his imperial collection that were attributed to Wang Xizhi and to assess every single item. The committee was headed by Chu Suliang, who was said to be the only person able to tell originals from forgeries. 8 At the orders of Taizong, Chu Suiliang completed an official catalog Jin Youjun Wang Xizhi shumu (List of Calligraphic Works by Wang Xizhi, General of the Right Army of the Jin dy nasty). 9 The catalog co ntains 269 items classified according to two types of scripts: standard and running. 10 There are fourteen items, mounted as five scrolls, listed in the category of standard script. The 6 Li Shimin [Tang Taizong] Wang Xizhi chuan lun in LDSF 121 22. 7 See section Reproductions in this chapter for further discussion on reproduct ing Wang Xizhi s work. 8 XTS 105.40 24. 9 Chu Suiliang, Jin Youjun Wang Xizhi shumu in FSYL 3.88 100 See also Wei Shu, Tangchao xushu lu in FSYL 4.163. 10 This number count is mine. Lothar Ledderose s count is 266 see L othar Leddrose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calli graphy 28; Amy McNair s is 360 plus 14 see Amy McNair, Fa shu yao lu, 77.
49 rest, mounted as fifty eight scrolls, are in the category of running script. A title or brief note is given for each scroll, and underneath there is information on each item s number of lines and for whom it was written. The first item in the category of standard script is the Yue Yi lun (Eulogy on General Yue Yi), 11 while the first running script is the Lanting ji xu. That arrangement was possibly an indication of the emperor s personal favorites. 12 Including Yue Yi and Lanting about thirty items still can be identified, in various lat er collections of rubbings or in handwritten copies. 13 Taizong also had a small seal cut with two characters Zhenguan to represent his reign The seal, inscribed with Taizong s own calligraphy was impressed at the beginning and the end of each scroll. This was probably the first time that a seal had been used to authenticate an art work Since then it has become standard practice to place an official seal(s) on objects belonging to imperial collections and the seals of the Tang imperial collec tion have been much venerated by later connoisseurs 14 Chu ; as a result he played a decisive role in shaping the legacy of Wang Xizhi A m ore detailed study o f Chu Suiliang and his calligraphy follow s later in this chapter and also in C hapter 4 It is not surprising that Taizong himself emulated Wang Xizhi in his own handwriting. Two extant and dependable works by Taizong s hand are Jinci ming ( The Inscription for the Ancestor Hall of Jin ) dated 646 (fig. 4 ) and Wen q uan ming 11 Yue Yi was a famous warrior of the third century BCE An eulogy for Yue Yi was composed by Xiahou Xuan (209 254). 12 Amy McNair, Fa shu yao lu, 77. 13 Lothar Ledd e rose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraph y 28, and n. 84. 14 Lothar Leddrose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 26 ; see also Acker, Some I.216.
50 ( The Inscription for the Hot Spring ) dated 648 (fig. 5) Both were engraved on stones. The stele of Jinci ming was erected in the Jin Temple of Taiyuan city in Shan xi Province and is still well preserve d 15 The stele of Wen q uan ming was unfortunately lost From the time of the Song on ward this work ha d been known only from the literature written about it, but at the beginning of the twentieth century a fragment of an ink rubbing of Wen q uan ming was discovered in a Dunhuang cave. 16 The inscription on the Jinci ming appears mostly in standard script, but some characters are written more freely, like running script. The fragmentary ink rubbing of the Wenchuan ming is comp osed of about four hundred characters in fifty lines, each line containing seven or eight characters and exhibits Taizong s writing in a flu id running script reflect ing Wang Xizhi s luminous style. Wenquan ming is further discussed in detail in C hapter 5. Promoted enthusiastically by Taizong and his court, Wang Xizhi s style was designated with such authority that it became a n abiding tradition throughout the Tang dynasty and beyond. Lothar Ledderose first coin ed the term in referen ce to the Wang Xizhi tradition that has been canonized since the Tang dynasty. 17 He defines it as 18 The term classical tradition widely adopted by Western 15 See Jinci zhi ming bin g xu: Tang Li Shimin zhuang bin g shu. 16 It is n ow in the Bibliothque Nationale de France ; the item is numbered as P.4508. 17 Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 7 44. See also Eugene Y Wang hrew: Wang H si chih (303 361) and Calligraphic Gentrification in the Seventh Century 73. 18 Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 7.
51 scholars, while the Chinese equivalent is the The Ideological Formation of Tang Court Culture also rev ealed a feature of the political ideology, in addition to his personal aesthetic preferences 19 Since Wang Xizhi whose work represents the highly cultured aristocracy of south China serve d as a s ymbol of his desire to facilitate national unification 20 of fostering a balance of power was in fact, a continuation of the policy beg u n by his father, Li Yuan the first Tang emperor Gaozu. 21 A northerner and native of Longxi (in modern Shaanxi Province) Gaozu understood that the unification of the country depended on acquiring support from the south by promoti ng southern culture and officials H e also esta blished an institutional and political 22 to by Gaozu can most immediately be interpreted as the court of the Sui dynasty (581 617) in w hich he had served and held the high posi tions of Right Guard General and Grand Counselor in chief Li Yuan was bestowed with the title of Prince of Tang before he usurped the throne of the last emperor of the Sui, Yangdi (r. 605 61 7). Yangdi, 19 Taizong s political ideology see ang ruling class: new evidence from Tunhuang , and 233. 20 Robert E. Harris, Jr., ed., The Embodied Images 96. 21 Gaozu s official biography is in XTS 1 1 21. 22
52 too, was very much in favor of selecting southern scholars to serve his court and used 23 The c ultural interdependence that developed between south and north China can be traced back to the P eriod of D ivision during the sixth century. Southern elite arts w hich included poetry, painting, and calligraphy were superior to those in the kingdoms of N orth ern China, which were ruled by so s whose native tongue was not Chinese. Overtime, n orthern rulers increasingly admired southern culture. Some southern poets, such as Yu Xin were kidnapped and held hostage so that they could teach northern officials how to compose writings and improve the cultural achievements of their courts. In terms of religion, however, the exposure to and understanding of diverse Buddhist texts and teachings was more advanced in the north. This owed to the overland trade routes between northern China and Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, which were traveled by foreign missionaries. In fact, the monks who founded monasteries or preached in south China were often foreigners who were initially active in the north or were monks born in north China and trained by foreign dharma masters 24 on can be seen as a continuity of pursuit that had been undertaken by the nothern rulers for the explicit purpose of unification. direct dynasties of the Eastern Jin and [Southern] Liang. Shu S hu fu ( A H istory of 23 Sui shu 3.60 62 and 32.908. 24 In respect to religion and literary culture in the sixth century, see Alan K. Chan and Yuet keung Lo, S ui Dy 222.
53 Calligraphy in Rhapsody Form ) written by (fl. 730 artistic and cultural inclinations: When Mighty Tang received blessings from Heaven, it unified the whole universe and illuminated the gloomy world. Having settl ed the matter of military achievement and practiced civic virtues, Gaozu applied the Xizhi] to set forth his profound purviews. His heroic writings appeared divine, and they crowned t he excellent model of the Liang. 25 (fl. 730 750) in his annotation on Shu Shu fu, he actually took a renowned (Southern) Liang calligrapher, Wang Bao ( ca. 513 576) 26 The biography of Wang Bao tells us that he was a native of Langye in Linyi and the direct descen dant of Wang Dao (276 339), a cousin of Wang Xizhi s father. 27 This teacher student relationship with Wang Bao earned Gaozu the position of being designated as a legitimate follower of Wang Xizhi. A mong the scholar officials from Sui Yangti s court who entered Gaozu government, the most eminent calligraphers were the three southern scholars, Ouyang Xun, Yu Shinan, and Chu Liang (fl. 575 630) 28 They collaborated during their 25 Dou Ji, Shu shu fu in FSYL 6.199. 26 Ibid. 27 Zhoushu 41.746 47; see also in Tong liu dian 768. 28 s biography is in XTS 102.3975 76, see also THY 64.1114,1115 and work and official involvement in the College of Literary Studies ( Wenxue guan ) and the Institute for the Advancement of Literature ( Hongwen guan ) Chu Liang is the father of Chu Suiliang who is considered as
54 service to Sui Yan gd i and became acquainted with Li Yuan, who had served at that time as one of Sui Yandi s military commanders 29 After Li Yuan (Gaozu) was enthroned as the first emperor of the Tang, Ouyang Xun was appointed Grand Secretary of the Department of the Imperial Chancellery. 30 He was highly influential in his time and was asked to provide the calligraphic design for the currency Gaozu began minting in the seventh month of 621. 31 According to the official Ouyang Xun s biography, his stunning brushstrokes had no paral lel among his contemporar ies: his writing upon calligraphy style. Later he excelled by not being afraid to take risks; hence his calligraphy became distinctive enough to be called the ngs were masterpieces to be used as model s 32 has survived 33 but fortunately his calligraphy can be traced from the extant stone carvings inscribed by him. The well known Jiuchenggong L i quan ming ( Inscription on S weet w ater Spring at Jiucheng Palace ) (fig. 6 ) was inscribed by Ouyang in 632 when he was already seventy five. The inscription was written to commemorate the miraculous event of the discovery of a spring by Taizong at Jiucheng Pal ace. The characters are carefully rendered in standard script and extremely well proportioned in structure. The brush 29 The traces of their collabor ation can be found from their official b iograph ies: Ou s is in XTS 198.5645 s is in XTS 102.9369 and s is in XTS 102.3976 ; see also Stephen 1 93 9 5. 30 XTS 198.5645. 31 THY 89.1623. 32 XTS 198.5646. 33 One running script manuscript the Zhang Han si lu ( Zhang Han Misses Perch ), now in the collection of Beijing Palace Mus eum, is attributed to Ouyang Xun, but its authentic ity is debatable
55 strokes are maneuvered with directional force either vertical or horizontal to create a visual weight with perfect equilibrium and coher ence. These qualities were later incorporated into the essential characteristics of the Tang style of standard script Another traceable work of Ouyang is the rubbing of Huadu si bei (Stele of Huadu Monastery) The stele was erected in 631 to commemorat e the establishment of the Huadu Monastery but lost sometime in the Song dynasty, and early rubbings had not been available for modern scholars until a twelve page fragment was dis covered at Dunhuang. T he writing is in a powerful ly compelling standard script, disclosing Ouyang As an important Dunhuang discovery, the Huadu rubbing is further discussed in d etail in C hapter 5. Young Prince Qin (later emperor Taizong ) Li Shimin, like his father and even more so, vigorously promoted art and literature. 34 In 621, the Prince founded the College of Literary Studies ( Wenxue guan ) in the west side of palace. He formed a group of eighteen scholar officials, including Yu Shinan and Chu Liang, to serve as his council. 35 The Prince commanded the distinguished Tang painter Yan Liben (d. 673) to paint the portraits of those eighteen scholars, and asked Chu Liang to write a set of eulogies for them en titled Shiba xueshi (Eighteen Scholars). As described in the Tang huiyao (Laws and Institutions of the Tang d ynasty) e se scholars were called upon everyday to discuss art and literature with the 34 See above in this chapter n. 1 35 THY 64.1117.
56 36 It is evident that in calligraphy and art existed long before his ascension to the throne. During those years of being taught by the best scholars in the country, his passion for and participation in the arts was firmly established As his political power increased, he conti nued to enlist his confidants Yu Shinan, Ouyang Xun, and Chu Liang for high official positions and he continued this strategy after his ascent to the throne in 626. T aizong s expansion of the Institute for the Advance ment of Literature ( Hongwen guan ) was one of his greatest cultural achievements 37 The Institute commanded great prestige and attracted men of outstanding learning who discussed literature and politics with the emperor One of the i nstitute s major missions was to teach the art of call igraphy to the sons of high officials in the capital. T he Tang huiyao records: S ons of the imperial family and sons of civil and military officials of the fifth rank and above who had the desire and talent to learn calligraphy were admitted to the Institut e for the Advance ment of Literature to study calligraphy. During the first year of the Zhenguan era (627), twenty four students were admitted and studied standard script under the guidance of Yu Shinan and Ouyang Xun. 38 raphy is well defined in this paragraph. The students admitted to the Institute were taught standard script by Yu Shinan and Ouyang Xun so that they were proficient in the imperially codified standard script. T hese students became the forceful assets to pass down the Tang style of standard script. 36 Ibid. 37 The history and function of Hongwen guan can be seen in THY 64.111 4 17 (written as ), and in XTS 47.1209 1 0 (written as ). Hongwen guan previously named Xiuwen guan and founded by Gaozu in 621, subordinate to the S ecretariat and the Department of State Affairs, Menxia sheng The name was changed in March of 626 during September of that year when Taizong ascended the throne, Hongwen guan was soon expanded to correspond with Tai 38 THY 64.1115.
57 The Tang court also promoted proficiency through the School of Calligraphy ( Shuguan ), which opened in 628. Established under the supervision of the Directorate of Education ( Guozijian ), the School was to provide calligraphic instruction to the sons of lower ranking officials (ranked eighth and below) and commoners. 39 Thirteen total members were admitted during that year. 40 The students in the Shuguan mingled with the students in other department of Guozijian studying a wide range of subjects. 41 For those students, trained either from the Hongwen guan or Shuguan but failed to pass the imperial examination, would most likely hired by the the government agencies to be clerk calligraphers whose responsibilities were to copy official documents and sometimes government sanctioned Buddhist sutras, a development whic h will be further discussed in C hapter 6 Among other measures adopted by Taizon g to promote calligraphy, he included skill in calligraphy and vigorous handwriting in standard script ( kaifa qiumei ) became one of the prerequisites, along with physique (handsome and imposing), speech (good vocabulary and diction to debate), and composition (excellent and logical writing). 42 This was the first time in history that good handwriting became an essential requiremen t for service in the government. To include good handwriting as one of the determinants of character 39 XTS 48.1267 : 40 THY 66.1160. 41 XTS 48.1267 68. 42 Ibid., 45.1171.
58 cases, calligraphy could outrank other criteria in the selection process, because any composition that was not in good handwriting could immediately be eliminated. Consequently, the Tang court was filled with scholar officials who were also good calligraphers. The inclusion of calligraphy in the civil service examinati ons had a strong impact on the cultural environment Calligraphy, once a recondite art of the elite class, became a n attainable skill that the public could pursue. P ractic ing and mastering the brush became an important function of people s everyday life and a compulsory prerequisite to literature. The (d. 863) anthology You yan g zazu a collection of prose essays recording numerous social phenomena that appeared in the mid Tang period, includes th e story like this : Once in the middle of D ali era (766 779), there was a beggar with no hands who was able to write by holding d [ the quality of] the calligraphy produced by this beggar even exceeded that of the officials. 43 This story suggests that calligraphy was commonly practiced throughout the country. It also reveals the developing trend that calligraphy was no longer a priv ilege that belonged solely to the elite officials; instead, diligent practice could allow anyone, even a beggar, to excel at calligraphy. Furthermore, it brings to our attention that a skillful calligrapher could make a living such as copying sutras. Whet her or not this story about the beggar is true, the fact that it was written by a Tang poet suggests that the practice of calligraphy was linked to changes in how the relationship between art and society was 43 Duan Chengshi, You yan g zazu 5.34.
59 conceived at that time. That a beggar could be s aid to write calligraphy more beautifully than a government official indicated that aesthetic skill could, to a degree, transcend class hierarchies. Serving religious, political, and social ends alike, aesthetics could somewhat democratize relationship s am ong them. The beggar, a person who would have been socially invisible, was rendered visible through his aesthetic skill, in this case writing calligraph y A similar line of thinking is indicated in a comprehensive calligraphy catalog compiled in the S ong dynasty, the Xuanhe Shupu (Xuanhe Catalog of Calligraphy ) that itemized ( r. 1101 11 2 5) c ollection. The Catalog hundred years of Tang history, n ot only were scholar officials [of the Tang] excellent at calligraphy, but even th e common ers ( buyi ) or servants like r unners ( caoli ) were capable of showing their calligraphic 44 vigorous promotion of the practice of calligraphy Taizong extended his personal aesthetic preference for c alligraphy to establish a new and powerful cultural tradition. He used his authority to command th e style be the model for calligraphy as part of his strategy to culturally unify the new empire. This act tak en for a political ideology, however, resulted in the great cultural accomplishment. Yu Shinan and Chu Suiliang tradition was the cumulative effort of emperor s and numerous scholar officials. In 44 Xuanhe shupu 18.144.
60 addition to Ouyang Xun, Yu Shinan and Chu Suiliang made the most remarkable contributions. the emperor praised him for po ssessing five virtues high morality, upright loyalty, broad scholarship, elegant literary composition, and excellent calligraphy. 45 and other scholar officials carried out many important projects F or example, an inquiry into the merits and faults of previous rulers was composed in 631. 46 The next year, Yu Shinan was appointed Vice Director of the Imperial Library where he and others examined and sorted out the calligraphy collection in the Inner Sto rehouse. 47 Yu Shinan died in 638 at age of 81 and Wenyi ( Admirable in Refinement ). 48 is the Kongzi miaotang bei ( Stele Dedicated to the Confucius Temple ) (fig 7), which now stands at Beilin Originally erected between 628 and 630, it was destroyed shortly af ter its completion. The current stele is a copy engraved during the early Song dynasty, with the basic features of the original work retained. Zhang Huiguan once commented Yu in his well known Shuduan ( Critical Review s on Calligraphy ) stating that style had a latent firmness seasoned by flexibility, just as an honorable man would refrain from 45 XTS 46 THY 3 6.651. 47 FSYL 4.163, and XTS 57.1450. 48 XTS 102.3973.
61 49 Kongzi miaotang bei because the characters seem written with only gentle brush strokes and no force. It is said that Yu relied primarily on meditation, rather than imitation and practice, to guide his calligraphy. 50 Zhang Huiguan also pointed out that Yu Shinan carried on the tradition of Wang Xizhi broad compass ( honggui ) which absorbed the best qualities from various sources and adeptly employed different scripts. 51 Both Yu and Ouyang taught at the Institute for the Advancement of Literature during the last decade of their lives. It is reasonable to assume that their writings rendered with careful strokes and symmetrically constructed characters, were the models used to train young officials at the i nstitute. T he style s of Yu Shinan and Ouyang Xun have often been compared as they were extremely close in age and were both an is like a carefully chosen protocol official seldom mak ing sa id Zhang Huiguan who also concluded that Yu's calligraphy was considered superior to that of Ouyang because the ink and sinews and bones hon orable man who always refrain ed from showing his cutting edge 52 This passage 49 Zhang Huiguan, Shuduan in FSYL 8.286 : The translation is modified from Zhu Guantian, An Epoch of Eminent Calligraphers, 50 Zhu Guantian, ibid., 200. 51 Zhang Huiguan, Shuduan in FSYL 8 .285 : , 52 Ibi d ., 8. 286 : T ranslation is from Zhu Guantian, An Epoch of Eminent Calligraphers, 200 01.
62 tells us that e ven though the pieces are written in the same form of the standard script, calligraphy written by two different hands may appear similar at glance they can look v ery different when the details are scrutinized. It should be noted that Yu Shinan was a devoted Buddhist. Several historical texts record a his death The story says, Afterwards, k nowin g that his old friend had been a devout Buddhist, Taizong praised him in an edict and ordered that a maigre feast for 500 monks be held and a Bu d 53 faith can be traced back t o the time when Taizong was still the Prince of Qin. Using small standard script, Yu Poxie lun xu ( A Preface to the Discussion on Destroying Evil ), 54 Poxie lun (Discussion on Destroying Evil ) which Buddhist program. 55 The above instance demonastrates how Yu Shinan could use his fame as a calligrapher to ; in this case, it was to support Buddhism. s judgement and appreciat his talent personality, but when Yu was getting older, emperor was worried that after the death of Yu Shinan there would be no one with whom to discuss calligraphy. In 636, the minister Wei Zheng (580 643) recommended Chu Suiliang, son of Chu Liang, to the emperor saying 53 Arthur F. Wright, tsung and Buddhism 5 3 and n. 43 ; Fozu tongji T 49 .364c; Quan Tang wen 9.2b in Datong shuju ed., 113 ; JTS 72. 2571. 54 A r eproduction can be seen in Tseng Yu ho Ecke, Chinese Ca lligraphy pl. 10g; for Yu Shinan preface, see T 52.47 4c 75a 55 Arthur F. Wright, 246.
63 56 Chu Suiliang gained the ( Shishu ) and placed 57 ost influential role. His calligraphic skill synthesized the styles of Wang Xizhi and Yu Shinan, and th us emanated gracefulness and elegance. Zhang Huaiguan elucidates in his Shuduan examining Yu [ ] When he became older, he inherited the art of Youjun [ Wang Xizhi ]. kaisu [ standard script ] greatly captured the charm of 58 It is understandable, c onceptually and in practice, that in order to measure up to Tai Chu was determined to exceed Yu in carrying on the Wang legacy. brushstrokes and character structures positioned him as a more accomplished calligraphy master than O uyang and Yu, according to Zhang Huaiguan: the carved lattices of interlocked patterns in which springtime woods are visible in the far background; also like a beautiful woman wh ose radiance and suppleness does not rely on the embellishment of a silk gauze dress, a quality that was allegedly missing in the works of Ouyang 59 56 XTS 105.4024. 57 Ibid. 58 Zhang Huiguan, Shu Duan in FSYL 8.286. 59 Original text from Zhang Huiguan, Shu Duan in FSYL 8.286 : , Translation is modified from Zhu Guantian, An Epoch of Eminent Calligraphers, 202.
64 (1074 1151) who zhen ) characters, there is official script ( li ) 60 N calligraphy. Li Sizhen (d. 696), a near [ T hey] lack naturalness, and re present a skill simply gained from diligent and strenu 61 A mid Tang critic, Dou Ji (fl. 740 750) made a similar evaluation o f restrain ed and prudent 62 Dou Ji however, perhaps [ in some ways] it would b e very much like a ridiculed painter who, in trying to sketch a tiger, end s 63 A comment like this may be considered prejudiced and should not be taken as a proper and conclusive Chu Suiliang began to practice calligraphy at a very young age as his father, Chu Liang, was a renowned calligrapher, and his style gradually matured. Although n o handwritten piece done by him has survived, Chu Su s calligraphy style can be discerned from four e ngraved st eles bearing inscriptions penned by him which reveal the distinctive characteristics of his writing It is also important to note that among these 60 Ma Zonghuo, Shulin z ao j i a n 8.123b 24a in Beijing, Wenwu, 1984 ed., 84. 61 Li Sizheng, Shupin hou ( Hou s hupin or Shu hou pin ) in FSYL 3.107. 62 Dou Ji, Shu shu fu in LDSF 255 and FSYL 3.201: 63 Ibid. :
65 four steles two are related to Buddhism and one to Daoism. Yique Fokan bei ( Stele for Buddh ist Shrine at Mount Yique ) erected in 641 and Meng fashi bei (Epitaph for Daoist Priestess Meng) erected in 642 exemplify the early phase of style A pair of steles inscribed with the Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu ( Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripi aka 64 of the Great Tang Dynasty ) and Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu ji ( Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripi aka of the Great Tang Dynasty ) erected in 653 represent the most refined phase of his calligraphy Yique Fokan bei was originally engraved on the Longmen Cliff south of Luoyang The stone was ruined long ago Chu s writing may only be seen from rubbings made in the Song and Ming periods. 65 The original was written in standard script, with each dot and stroke clear and crisp. The slightly compressed square characters are filled with slender and wire 8 ) The stone of Meng fashi bei has long been lost, b ut a piece of a rubbing made from the engraved inscription was passed down by the Qing collector Li Zonghan and now resides in the Collection of Mitsui Memorial Museum, Tokyo (fig. 9). The inscription s o f Meng fashi bei display brushwork and character structure s that are 64 Tripi found in many versions, while the oldest and most complete one is called the Pali Canon. Therefore Tripi aka is also known as the Pali Canon with an alternate spelling: Tipi aka in Pali. The three Baskets of the Law in Pali includes: the Vinaya ules of communal life for monks and nuns; the Sutra pitaka, a collection of sermons of the Buddha; and the Adhidharma pitaka, which contains interpretations of analyses of Buddhist concepts 65 Zheng Fengm ing, Chu Suiliang shuxue zhi yanjiu 1 00
66 similar to the ones on Yique Fokan bei The strokes seem borrowed from Ouyang Xun (like the inscription of Jiuchenggong L iquan ming see fig. 6 ) and the character structures appear to have come from Yu Shinan (like the inscription of Ko ngsi miaotang bei see fig. 7). 66 calligraphy on both the Meng fashi as well as the Yique Fokan reveal the early stage of style which demonstrate a great sense of propriety that is flavored with vestiges of official script. Among the extant engraved inscriptions attributed to Chu Suiliang Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu (the Preface ) (fig. 10a), and the Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu ji (the Notes to the Preface ) (fig. 10b) are best known. Dated 653 and signed by Chu Su are slender and smooth, as he finally transforms the fluency and elegance of Wang inscriptions embrace such a high degree of clarity, expressiveness, and vivacity, they became a guide to the standard script of the Tang dynasty, and since had created a lasting influence on the subsequent use of standard script in the history of Chinese c 67 This recognition was extended by a modern specialist on Tang calligraphy, Zhu Guantian early Tang masters, Chu Suiliang was the only one who blazed a new trail for the 66 Various critiques on Meng Fashi bei are included in Z heng Fengming, Chu Suiliang shuxue zhi yanjiu 103 107; also Huang Zongxi Chu Suiliang kaishu fengge y anjiu 78 83. 67 Liu Xizai Shugai in LTSF
67 development of the standard script of the Tang period. With a handsome, refined, energetic style, he subse 68 T hese stel es with refined calligraphic inscription were originally made to commemorate Buddhist accomplishment s ; hence they imply a close relations hip between Buddhism and calligraphy. A detailed study of these steles is included in C hapter 4 transcription, will be elaborated in C hapter s 5 and 6 Yu Shinan and Chu Suiliang were the leading calligraphy masters of the early Tang dynasty and th eir works influenced the expansion of Buddhis m Well transcribed inscriptions o n Buddhist steles testify that Buddhism was accepted by the Tang imperial court and upheld by the literati. At the same time, the rubbings taken from these stele s later became m odels for calligraphy practice, and the ir dissemination s further ed t he g r owth of both Buddhism and calligraphy. Stele inscriptions penned by Chu Suiliang, considered the best model for Tang kai the authorized standard script promoted by the Tang court be came widely emulated. Tang kai S tandard S cript of the Tang D ynasty Although kaishu the standard script, emerged as early as the third century, it did not achieve its full maturity until the Tang dynasty. The style of standard script that was develope 69 kai 68 69 A term is used in general referring to the calligraphic form of standard script under the trend of Wang Xizhi s expressive style, which was promoted by Taizong and then became the standarized script in the Tang Some Chinese and Japanese scholars use the term Tang kai when referring this particular type of script The following is my discovery of how th e term Tang kai was developed.
68 held up as a standard. The Laws and Institutions of the Tang Dynasty records that Yu Shinan and Ouy ang Xun taught and demonstrate d the method of writing standard script ( kaifa ) at the Institute for the Advancement of Literature. 70 The mid Tang critic Dou Ji also commented that the particular method ( fa ) to achieve the best kind of calligraphy was to undertake the style of Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi and follow their styles faithfully. 71 Song art critic used the you kaifa ) or you kaize ) in praising the c alligraph ic work produced in the Tang. 72 Later a renowned Qin scholar and critic, Weng Fanggang (1733 1818) abbreviated the term, it has the style of the Tang standard script ( you Tang kaifa ) to kai ( ) the Tang s standard script when i t was used to describ e the calligraphic style used on several Tang stone inscriptions. 73 This particular form of calligraphy in the Tang dynasty involves the form of script as well as the expressive style. Amy McNair describes it as the imperially sancti oned early Tang version of the Wang Xizhi style of standard script can also be characterized as the style used by the Tang sutra copyists. 74 The characters written in this style are generally well articulated yet fluent in brushstroke and easy to w rite and pleasant to read. Modern scholars specializ ing in Dunhuang manuscripts often use the 70 Tang huiyao 71 Dou Ji, Shu sh u fu in LDSF 254: 72 Zhu Changwen, Xu shuduan in LDSF 346. 73 Weng Fanggang, Suzhai Tang bei xuan 2 3. 74 Amy McNair, Texts of Taoism and Buddhism and the Power of Calligraphic Style, 230.
69 kai when referring to the style used by sutra copyists 75 Fujieda Akira employed the term Tang kai as he classified the Dunhu ang Buddhist manuscripts according to the various scripts used for copying. 76 kai named by Fujieda, however, was specifi c to a script of not only the Tang court promoted kai style but whose characters were reformed by Yan Shigu (581 645) during the reign of Taizong That means, kai embodies both exemplary calligrahy during the Tang as the art of calligraphy, and correct writing in respect to orthography. 77 Since good calligraphy was a required element in the civil examination, it became necessary that the Tang court established a clear standard for stylish calligraphy as well as correctly written characters. With its precision, legibility, and formality, Tang kai was widely used for government documents, inscriptions on epitaphs or steles, and sutra copies. The establishment of the Tang style of the standard script coincided with the early Tang imperial sponsorship of calligraphy and promoti Tang kai often reflected the aesthetic combined with an earlier form of standard script which had evolved from lishu (official script). In the List of Calligraphic Works of Wang Xizhi compiled by Chu Suiliang, the first category of perial collection is z hengshu which can be literally 75 Jiao Mingchen Dunhuang xiejuan shufa yanjiu 12 0; Wo Xinghua, Dunhuang s hufa y i shu 120; Shen Leping Dunhuang shufa zo nglun 60. 76 77 In respect of Tang orthography, see Li Haixia Tangdai de Zhengzi yundong and Shi Anchang, Tangdai zhengzi xuegao.
70 category, Yu e Yi lun is listed as the first, which was transcribed by Wang Xizhi in the year of 348 and later became the foremost example of his standard script. 78 The authenticity of Yue Yi however, was questioned as early as the fourth century, in the Lun s hu qi ( Essay on Discussions of Calligraphy ) by Liang Wudi and Tao Hongjing. 79 The Yue Yi lun the Imperial originality. The extant copies of Yue Yi lun are believed to be rubbings made after the Song, and the Yuqing zai (ca. 1598 1614) version (fig. 11) is known as the earliest one from the Imperial Collection. Chu Suiliang wrote an individual entry on this item, in which he said Yu e Yi lun was removed from the Imperial Storehouse for the purpos e of making copies. Six copies were made by the skillfully trained copyist Feng Chengsu of the Institute for the Advancement of 80 At the end of that entry Chu Suiliang marvelous that they are thoroughly embedd ed with the principles of the [model] 81 Due to its prominent position, this Yue Yi lun may be the best and most authentic work written in standard script by Wang Xizhi. 78 See above, n. 11 in this chapter 79 FSYL 2.47. 80 Tang Chu Henan taben Yue Yi lun (R Yue Yi [lun] by Chu Shiliang in the Tang dynasty), in FSYL 3.131 32 ; Chu Suiliang list s the persons who received those copies : Zhangsun Wuji (c. 600 659), Fang Xuanling (578 648), Gao Shilian (577 647), Hou Junji (d. 643), Wei Zheng and Yang Shidao (fl. c. 627 650). 81 Ibid., 132 :
71 We can see Yue Yi lun as an example of the zhengshu characters, whi ch have a clear pattern of constituent brush strokes and are integrated into a perfect visual version is concentrated and elegant, but not sleek. The strokes are pre cisely executed, but still shaped in an individual way. In the composition of single characters and in the flow of the lines, one senses a lively rhythm writes Lothar Ledderose in describing the version of the Yue Yi lun made from Yuqing zhai 82 From the early Tang onward, this type of writing elegant, precise, and full of rhythm has become the prime model for calligraphy. It was strenuously promoted in the capital and then as the standard script of the entire country. The Wang style of standard script, a codified calligraphic script in the Tang, is as expressive brush strokes Amy McNair offers a further elaboration; u Yue Yi lun as an example, she points out the right, sharply pointed strokes made with the exposed brushtip technique, and highly modulated, bottom 83 She also argues that regardless of the aesthetic qualities o f calligraphic styles, other factors are just as important for this particular style widely used as the standard script of the Tang characterology and public values of orthodoxy, formality, and the authority of antique 84 She utilizes the inscriptions on three Buddhist steles as examples, the Epitaph for the Esoteric Buddhist Monk Amoghavajra (705 774) inscribed by the high 82 Lothar Ledderose, M i Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 70. 83 84 Ibid., 270.
7 2 official Xu Hao (703 782) 85 the Stele of Prabh taratna Pagoda inscribed by Yan Zhenqing (709 785) 86 as well as the famous stele of the Preface and the Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teachings Three of these steles can be seen at the Forest (Museum) of Steles ( B eilin ) in modern Xi an. 87 The ir carved inscriptions have been praised for their rich and charming strokes and characters. The clear and formal precisionof the characters written in the standard script of the Tang conveys authority. T he Tang standard sc ript was also a model script for most of the manuscripts produced during the Tang time, including numerous Buddhist manuscripts discovered at Tang kai by Fujieda Akira, k aishu 88 it is the dominant type of script found in Dunhuang religious manuscripts. The Tang Buddhist sutra copying style was closely tied to the use of Tang kai an d will be further discussed in C hapters 5 and 6 85 A lso known as the Stele in Memory of Monk Guangzhi sanzang ( Guangzhi sanzang heshang bei or Bukong heshang bei ) Erected in 781, the stele was made in memory of monk Bukong sanzang ( d.775?), who was originally from Turfan and the leading patriarch of Esoteric Buddhism during the Tang O ne of his main disciple was Huiguo (746 80 5) who then became the teacher of the Japanese monk Kukai (774 835) Later Kukai became the founder of the Shingon sect o f Japanese Buddhism. The stele was inscribed with about 900 characters in a stone of 305x99 cm. For more details, see Li Yuzheng ed., X i an Beilin shufa y ishu 158 is in XTS 160.4965. 86 A lso known as Stele of Commemorating Duobao P a goda ( Duobao ta ganying bei ). Erected in 752, the stele was established to commemorate Chan Master Chujin (fl. 740 760) as the founder of Duobao P a goda; it has more than 2000 characters on a large stone in size of 285x102 cm. For more de tails see Li Yuzheng ed., Xi an Bei lin shufa y ishu 138 biography is in XTS 192.5529 32. 87 The Forest of Stel e ( Beilin ) is the museum of stel es located in the center city E stablished in 1090 during the Northern Song dynasty t he collecti on now includ es stel es from the Han to Ming and Qing dynasties, in total more than 2300 pieces with about 1100 pieces on display Also known as the Treasury of the Stele it is the first museum of stel es in Chin a. It contains more stel es than any other s tele museums. For a complet e catalog of Xi an Beilin collection see Li Yuzheng ed. X i an Beilin s hufa y ishu 88 Liu Tao , 74.
73 The evolution of various scripts has been debated among calligraphy theoreticians throughout hi distinguish it from the type of standard script developed many centuries earlier as a refinement of official script ( lishu ); in this style, the characters are strictly linear in form but the brush strokes are modulated. For instance, Weng Fanggang characterized Chu inscription on Yique Fokan bei Tang kai with the usage of standards of lishu 89 This judgment most likely derived from the characteristically swift and startling sweep of brushstrokes closely associated with typical official script that appeared i n Chu Suiliang s early work The precise time of origin of the standard script is still un certain Among the older texts that have studied the developme nt of scripts, the Shupu ( Treatise on Calligraphy ), completed in 687 by Sun Guoting divides the early evolution of calligraphy into two major groups, lishu (official script) and caoshu (cursive script). Sun Guoting assigned the position of leading lishu calligrapher to Zhong Y ou, caoshu to Zhang Zhi, and credited Wang Xizhi and his son Wang Xianzhi for l ater synthesizing these two styles 90 treatise and l ater art historians have often designated Zho ng You as the leading master of the standard script tradition as the standard script is seen as an extension developed from lishu 91 89 Weng Fanggang, Suzhai Tang bei xuan 3. 90 Sun Guoting, Shupu in LTSF 1 24. 91 A thorough study on Zho ng You, see Hui liang J. Chu, The Zhong You (151 230) Tradition: a pivotal development in Song Calligraphy
74 The modern scholar Cornelius Chang, in his study of script evolution, h the initial and terminal accents basic designates a few characters written at the top of a tablet discovered at Niya Xinjiang (northwest China), together with fifty wooden strips, as examples of the early standard script. Two of the wooden strips date from 269. 92 Furthermore, he indicates that the fully developed standard script may be found in an inscription on a fragment of a Buddhist sutra, Chishi jing which was u nearthed in Turfan and dated 449. 93 The style of writing on Chishi jing is described by Chang: kaishu accents of the horizontal and verticals as well as the bent, upper right strokes are unmistakably clear and a re effortlessly executed 94 His description echoes the comments by Lothar Ledderose in another kais h u example that was unearthed from Turfan. 95 Chishi jing offers a good comparison to another early handwritten Buddhist sutra, Da zhi du lun signed by An Ho ngsong (fl. 400 430 ) a native of Turfan 96 Now in the collection of the Beijing Palace Museum, this valuable piece of an early handwritten 92 evaluation of the Development of Hsing su 22 93 Ibid., fig. 8. 94 Ibid., 22. 95 Lothar Le dderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 9 The discovered fragment is given a date 479 and now kept in East Berlin T he Chishijing fragment mentioned in Cornelius P. s A Re evaluation, is now in the Shodo Museum Tokyo 96 An Hongsong, was originally from Turfan and later moved to the territory of Northern Liang (397 439), a state duirng the Sixteen Kingdoms period
75 Calligraphy of the Jin, Tang and Five D y nasties 97 T he script al likai ti ) by Shi Anchang, who attributed this piece of non dated work to a period as early as the late fourth and early fifth century. 98 Two sixth One is a copy of the Flower Adornment Sutra transcribed by an official sutra copyist of the Northern Wei (386 533), Cao Fashou signed and dated 513 (the second year of Yanchang ). 99 The second is a copy of the Nirvana Sutra with a date of 573 ( the second year of Jiande of the Northern Zhou dynasty 557 581). 100 Both of these handwritten sutras are written in standard script. A type of calligraphy very similar to these Buddhist sutras can also be found in stone engravings. The best examples are the well known Epitaph f or Zhang Xuan ( Zhang Xuan muzhi ) (fig 12) of the Northern Wei dynasty, dated 531, and the Epitaph for Zhu Dailin ( Zhu Dailin muzhi ) ( fig. 1 3 ) of the Northern Qi dynasty, dated 571. A calligrapher and art critic, He Shaoji (1799 1873), who onc e had a copy of the stone rubbing from the Epitaph for Zhang Xuan commented about the style of calligraphy on the epitaph. He and official script elements into standard script, [the epitaph] has the merit of all three 97 Jin Tang Wudai s hufa: the complete collection of treasures of the Palace Museum, compiled by Shi Anchang 144 48 (item 20). 98 Ibid., 144. 99 Ibid. 149 51 (item 21). 100 Ibid., 1 52 59 (item 22)
76 101 The term perfect may very well imply the strength and refinement of brush strokes that constitute the most important quality in rendering a standard script. That quality of standard script is well por trayed in the inscription of the Epitaph for Zhu Dailin as every stroke of each character was 102 The above examples illustrate important contributions to the development of calligraphy in the North with extensive use of stand ard script in handwriting and stone inscriptions. Their style of standard script, however, is one where the horizontal strokes are level and the structure of characters is expansive and sprawling. This type of calligraphic expression appears rather unlike the taste that developed in the South, where a different cultural climate created a contrasting style of calligraphy. The educated elite of the South elevated calligraphy to an art form that was widely practiced and collected. T heoretical literature a nd critiques of calligraphy also began to be produced Southern calligraphers were fa miliar with various types of scripts and interested in experimenting with heterogeneous theories, and strove to be inventively creative. Among t he best representatives of southern calligraphy were Wang Xizhi and his followers In the ir standard script, the horizontal strokes were no longer evenly level. According to Wang Xizhi If both horizontal and vertical [strokes] are evenly rendered, they would be as stiff as an abac us When the presentation appears level from top to 101 He Shaoji, Dongzhou caotang shu lun 841. The translation is from Perfection amid Social Upheavals: Calligraphy during the Wei, Jin, So uthern and Northern Dynasties 184. 102 Wang Yuchi, ibid.
77 bottom and front to back, it is not calligraphy. 103 The solution of h ow to break this distasteful evenness or levelness was provided in the section seven of Wang s Discussion of the D isposition of Brushstr okes in T welve Sections 104 I n teaching his son how to produc e the best standard script he said The right side of character should be relatively less refined than the left side. [In each character] the horizontal strokes should be thin, while the vertical s should be made broader. 105 Following these rules, characters in the form of standard script in the Wang s writing were not expansive and sprawling like th ose produced by the Northern calligraphers I nstead they look uneven and are often slant ed upward i n order to make the right side look larger than the left In order to break artificial bilateral symmetr y (as in seal script), the compositional structure of Wang style characters appears to cluster on the left side and fan out to the right; this feature w as later commonly described as left tight, right loose. 106 In order to exaggerate the unevenness calligraphers often deliberately created a sharp tipped beginning and round finishing strokes, and sometimes highly modulated, top light and bottom heavy fina l strokes. The characteristics of this expressive type of standard script were very evident in Tang calligraphy Writing in the style of the standard script of Tang became a cultural standard within and outside the Tang court. Taizon g Tang k ai played a crucial role. 103 Wang Xizhi, Ti Weifuren b i z hentu hou in FSYL 1.8: , , 104 See evelopment in the Six Dynasties 105 Wang Xizhi, Bi shi lun shier zhang in LDSF 33: , 106 Amy McNair, The Upright Brush: Yan Zhenqing s Calligraphy and Song Literati Polit ics 120.
78 In the court, the officials were proficient with the regulated style of Tang standard script, and students of the Institute for the Advancement of Literature and the School of Calligraphy diligently practiced the imperially sancti oned early Tang version of the Wang Xizhi style of standard script Beyond the court, people in the country also imitat ed the is favored by the emperor is followed by 107 In standardizing and establi shing Tang kai conferred a high value upon on the style and form of calligraphy that infatuated him bu t also produced a long lasting impact on the development of calligraphy as Tang kai was widely used in the Tang and also adopted by later generations as the most common form of writing. Reproductions Copies of masterpieces were used as models for teaching and practicing. The ir quality undoubtedly had a strong impact in turn on the quality of students Numerous historical documents state that Taizong employed specialists in his palace to In Record on the Copies of Yue Yi lun, Feng Chengsu is mentioned as one of these specialists. 108 s (fl. 720) Lanting ji ( Notes on Lanting ) recorded the names of several more skilled copyists worked on Lanting in Taizong s court 109 These copyists were called Rubbing Maker Calligraphers ( Tashu shou ) and were under the supervision of Editing 107 THY 108 Tang Chu Henan taben Yue Yi lun (R Yue Yi [lun] by Chu Shiliang in the Tang dynasty), in FSYL 3.131 109 In Lanting ji ( by Ho Yanzhi ) list ed several copy specialists who were traine d Lanting xu ; besides Feng Chengsu, there were Zho Mo Han Daozheng and Zhuge Zhen See Lanting ji in FSYL 3.130 : [ ] , , ,
79 C lerks ( Jiaoshu lang ), who were appointed by the Institute of the Advancement of Literature to be in charge of comparing texts of government documents and other materials for accuracy revising them and supervising their reproduction 110 The copyists wer e trained in technique s designed to produce the most pr e cise copies. One method of making such copies was through tracing. First, a thin paper sheet was placed directly on top of the original. Each brush stroke was outlined and then filled in with ink to p roduce a faithful copy of the original. This tracing technique of coupling the outline and filling in with ink was given a name of 111 The method of tracing was also known on its own or ), which 112 The copies made by this method were named moben ( or ) including the copies made from Y ue Yi lun and L anting xu They often were presented to officials nobilities, or distributed to members of the imperial family. 113 One of the best means used by copies. Since these traced copies could intentionally or unintentionally be mistaken for the original, however, the problem of distinguishing copies from originals has become ubiquitous in the study of Chinese calligraphy. 110 XTS 47.1209 10. 111 This technique was detailed in many publications. See Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 34 3 Shuang gou tianmo is to first carefully trace the contours of the strokes in thin dry lines on a paper sheet which is laid over the original, and the n meticulously filled in the Jr., Down: Notes on the Early Transmission of Calligraphy by Wang Xizhi and Yujiro Nakata, Ch u goku shoronsh u 111 and 25 4. 112 Lothar Ledderose Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 35. 113 See above, n.108 and n.109.
80 Tracing was not the only method for making copies employed in the Tang court. overlooking ( lin ), was to place the original and copy sheet side by side. The copies produced by this method w ere called free hand copies, or linben ( ). Although writing freely, the copyist was expected to produce characters that followed the model so closely that it looked just like the original It is known that T aizong and Chu Suiliang copied many works of Wang Xizhi through the lin method 114 It is in no doubt that i n order to create a good quality of free hand c opy, one must be an accomplished calligrapher. In the study of calligraphy one often encounter s the challenge to investigate relationships between originals and copies, including how value cultural, political, religious and aesthetic was assigned to and circulated through various acts of writing and its reproduction On one level, inscriptions on steles and the rubbing made from steles as well, ngs perished long ago. From this perspective, the first question that arises is: what is the relationship between an original handwritten document, an engraving of that handwriting, a rubbing made from that engraving, and a copy produced by using that rubb ing as model ? One could argue that the original document is the most valuable because it is Heart Sutra emphasizes a relationship of inte 114 Ho Yanshi, Lanting ji in FSYL ; Li Sizhen, Shupin hou in FSYL 3.107 :
81 115 In terms of valuation, then, it is important to note that the esteemed Chinese practice of calligraphy was taken up by Buddhists as a way to elevate the status of their faith. The act of calligraphic copying became linked, in the case of sutra reproduction to the accumulation of merit. This in turn produced a demand for even more sutra copie s, which ultimately contributed to the spread of Buddhis m throughout China. the goals of both Buddhist s and Tang court by increasing the accuracy and efficiency of copying. In addition, training programs offered by Buddhist monasteries and the Tang court supported School of Calligraphy made it possible for a new class of non elite calligraphers to make a living as copyists in effect, their work propagated Tang culture and at the same time cultivated Buddhist prolification. Thus t he zealous calligraphic practices promoted by the Tang court and the Buddh ist monasteries generated a dynamic reform in the early Tang society that may be linked to changes of Tang people s conception of the relationship between art the society but also a political or religious function in order to be perceived aesthetically says Juri Lotman. 116 No longer the sole p rerogative of court elites or religious devotees, yet heavily endowed with political and religious functions, calligraphic copying eventually came to be perceived as an aesthetic skill worthy of recognition for its own value which to some degree democrat ized the relationship between art, politics, and society. 115 Patricia Berger, E mpire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China 127. 116 Juri Lotman, La structure du texte artistique translated from the Russian by Ronald Vroon, The Structure of the Artistic Text 69.
82 Moreover, to the extent that calligraphy was an art form whose perpetuation through the ages depended greatly upon strategies of reproduction it may be argued that copies and copyists were as valua ble in many ways as originals and masters if not more so.
83 CHAPTER 4 BUDDHIST STELES IN T HE EARLY TANG DYNAST Y Buddhist A daption of Chinese Stel es Buddhist steles are monumental stone slabs carved with images, text, or a combination of the two. I n the tradition of Indian Buddhis m, stones were carved exclusively with abundant images to illustrate spiritual teachings. In China, er e cting steles had been a pervasive social and religious phenomenon, and their presentational form or design advanced thro ugh several stages of development Erected flat stones can be dated back to the first century CE or even earlier. Functioning as symbolic monuments, with or without images, t h ese early steles mainly served ritual purposes per ceived as the cultural norm 1 By the later Han, this symbolic role became more pronounced as Confucianism came to cultural prominence, and the stones were often inscribed with revered texts such as the Stone Classics 2 The Chinese term bei was coined at this time for these tablets whi ch were carved with text and valued as literary and calligraphic artworks. 3 During the Six Dynasties, when Buddhism was flourishing broadly in China, Buddhist steles were carved extensively with Buddhist narratives using images and inscriptions. These we re 4 from which one can discern how a foreign religion was adapted, transformed and assimilat ed into Chinese culture and society 1 For the early development of Chinese stele see Dorothy Wong, Chinese Steles 15 23. 2 See hapter 2, and ibid., 25. 3 Dorothy Wong, Chinese Steles 40 4 Ibid ., 176.
84 Carved images of Buddhist deities became less popular, as steles with more lengthy inscriptions and depictions of donors appeared more frequently. 5 By the Sui and early Tang dynasties Buddhist steles bore texts almost exclusively indicat ing the efforts of Buddhists to incorporate Chinese cultural preferences into practices This gesture of cultural adaptation contributed to the proliferation of Buddhism and its widespread acceptance in China. Dorothy Wong underlines the significance of this ch ange of presentational preference, 6 Shifting to an emphasis on the written word over carved image, many of the large Buddhist steles engraved during the Tang dynasty are f illed with t exts. The most not ice presentation became a part of the form and function of a stele. This new phenomenon signaled a significant cultural change indicating a preference for the aesthetic presentation o f calligraphy For the first time carved stones were no longer considered only as treasures for preserving important text s (a function important in itself) but also as a means for preserving the life of calligraphy as an aesthetic form. S tone surfaces became a primary medium for presenting calligraphy and, even more so, for exhibiting a specific style of calligraphy. As a consequence, the signature of the artist on the stone could be just as enduring and significant as the text. Earlier steles erected in public places were not signed by artists responsible for the calligraphy. The question arises, then, of why this practice began during the Tang. 5 Ibid., 175 78. 6 Ibid., 4.
85 probably a strong a factor that infl uenced calligraphers who wished to identify themselves as masters of the style endorsed by the court. The desire of monasteries to publicize the allegiance of famous artists could be another factor. As the erection of any large Buddhist stele would need to be approved by the court, adding to the purposal the name of a famous artist who was also a high official increased the chance that it would be granted. Finally, the artists m ight have wanted to indicate their personal support for or devotion to Buddhism. Given the public location of steles and the rubbings taken from them would name and work far from the site of the stone Through the broad scope of this dissemination, critics, scholars, collectors, and other artists could appreciate t he merits circulate back to the original stele, increasing its value which, at the same time, served the interests of the Tang court and Buddhist monasteries alike. Many existing Tang steles reflect this new development and the circulation of valuation it created. The Daoyin fashi bei ( Stele of Master Daoyin ) is famous because the inscription was penned by a well known calligrapher, Ouyang Tong (fl. 1650 ), the son of the leading calligraphy master Ouyang Xun. 7 Likewise, the Duobao ta ganying bei ( Stele of Commemorating Duobao Pogoda) is a well known piece due to the fact that it was penned and signed by a revered calligrapher, Yan Zhenqing. 8 Another prominent stele, the Guangzhi sanzang heshang 7 The stele is a large stone slab (312x103cm ), with about 2400 characters. It was erected in 662 to honor Monk Daoyin who assisted Xuanzang in translating the Buddhist text More information about this stele can be found in Li Yuzheng ed., Xi an Beilin shufa Yishu 134 37. The calligrapher Ouyang To ng s b iography is in XTS 198.5466. 8 See C hapter 3, n. 86
86 bei ( the Stele in Memory of Monk Guangzhi sanzang ) was transcribed by the highly respected calligrapher Xu Hao. 9 Significant to my study is the fact that a large number of prominent Tang steles are related to Buddhism. Among the many steles erected during the early Tang that reflect strong religious and aesthetic preference s the Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu ( Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripi aka of the Great Tang Dynasty ), and the Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu ji ( Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripi aka of the Great Tang Dynasty ) are the most exemplary ones. Stel es of the Da Tang Sanzang Shengjiao X u and the Da Tang Sanzang Shengjiao X u J i A series of steles that bear inscriptions of the Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu (the Preface ) and the Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu ji (the Notes to the Preface ) are significant to this study for many reasons: the texts were composed by Emperor Taizong and the Crown Prince ; they were engraved with the most refined calligraphy ; and a number of steles were erected with the same text and placed in various locations within a relativel y short period of time They adaptation of Chinese cultural norms and artistic expressions but also evidenced to the In the course of mutua l encount ers and interactions, Buddhist involvement with Chinese culture enhanced the growth of their religion, while the Chinese adoption of Buddhism 9 See C hapter 3 n. 8 5.
87 opened up new intellectual and artistic horizons. 10 Calligraphy was instrumental to the enhancement of bot h Buddhist religion and Chinese culture. This chapter illustrates how calligraphy was utilized by Buddhists to legitimize and spread their religion which also position ed Buddhism as integral to the development of Chinese calligraphy. The Da Tang San zang s hengjiao xu was written in 648 by Emperor Taizong, as a eulogy commemorating the eminent (602 664) historic pilgrimage to India and his accomplishment s as a translator of Buddhist scriptures and was placed as the P the tra nslated Buddhist text 11 by Xuanzang 12 Soon thereafter, the Crown Prince Li Zhi (628 683) the f uture Emperor Gaozong (r. 650 683) composed an essay known as Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu ji in which the prince praises the teaching of Buddhi sm and his father translation project P In 653, the two texts were penned in standard script by Chu Suiliang, the most re vered calligrapher at that time. They were engraved on to two steles, and standing as a pair at the southern entrance of the Da Y an ta ( Great Goose Pagoda ) at Da 10 Mario Poceski, Introducing Chinese Religions 114. 11 is known as Yujia shi tilun in Chinese see T 30.279a 882a It is on e of the basic treatises of the school ( Faxiang zong ) 12 Xuanzang (602 664) was one of the most famous Chinese Buddhist monks in history He was also a sc holar, traveler and translator who brought up the interaction between China and India during the early Tang period. seventeen years j ourney (629 645) as Xiyu ji There are two modern English translations: Samuel Beal, Si yu ki : Buddhist Records of the Western World (London, 1884) and Thomas Watters, 2 vols. (London, 1904 diciple Huili, compiled his biog raphy Da Tang Da Ci n si Sanzang fashi zhuan (also in T 50.220c 280a), The translat ed versions in English include Life of Hsuan tsang (1959) and A Biography of the Tripi e n Monastery of the Great Tang Dynasty (1995) both tran slated by Li Rongxi.
88 si ( Great Grace and Goodwill Monastery ) 13 Later they were named by their designated location as the steles of Yanta s hengjiao xu ( Preface to the Holy Teachings at Yanta ) and Yanta s hengjiao xu ji ( Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teachings at Yanta ) ( see fig. 10a and 10b). In 672, the monk Huairen (fl. 645 675 ) completed a project that had the same imperial texts re carved on to one stele, with characters selected from the calligraphies of Wang Xizhi in running script This stele now stands at Beilin it is commonly referred to as the Ji Wang s hengjiao xu bing ji ( Preface and the Notes to the Preface [calligraphies] ) (fig. 1 4 ). Two more stel es were made with the same texts. One was intentionally made as a Tongzhou 14 where Chu served 13 THY 48.845 : Ci n Monastery located at the Jinchang residential quarter to the south of the palace an), was b uil t in 648 under the decree of Crown Prince in honor of his mother the deceased Empress Wende ( 601 636) See also The Biography of the Tripi aka Master of the e n Monastery of the Great Tang Dynasty 207 216 : In the spring of 652 Emperor Gaozong supported Xuanzang s request to build a brick pagoda in Ci en Monastery to store the translated s criptures preventing from fire disaster. The pagoda was built after the style the Western Region (i.e. India) like stupa It had five storeys, 180 feet in height, i ncluding the Wheel Sign and the Dew Basin. From 701 704, during t he ruling of Empress Wu Zet ian had the pagoda rebuilt to a seven story brick pagoda in the Chinese style By the eighth century, during the reign of Zhongzong the Pagoda was n amed the Y anta ( Goose Pagoda ) Another Goose Pagoda (smaller) was built later in the 8 th century also in Xi The pagodas were then respectively named the Great and the Small. A massive earthquake in 1675 heavily damaged the Great Goose P agoda It was extensively repaired in 1964. The P agoda currently stands at a height of 64 m (210 ft) tall, in seven stories The information about the original pagoda and early history, see The Biography of the Tripitaka Master y 2 26, and Wang Shu, Xuzhou tiba in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 818a. The later changes see T adashi Sekino and Daijo Tokiwa Shina bukkyo Shiseki 1. 9 23 14 In modern Dali county, Shaanxi Province.
89 as a Regional Inspector ( c ishi ) from 650 to 653. 15 It was moved to Beilin in 1974 and is known as the stele of Tongzhou s hengjiao xu bing ji ( Preface and the Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teachings at Tonzhou ) (fig. 15). 16 The second stele was erected in 663 and is located at Yanshi C ounty, near Luoyang, in modern Henan Province. Its text was tr anscribed in standard script by a skillful but less er known calligrapher Wang Xingman 17 This stele is titled either the Yanshi s hengjiao xu bing ji ( Preface and the Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teachings at Yanshi ) which emphasiz es the loc ation, or the Wang Xingman s hengjiao xu b ing ji ( Preface and the Notes to the Preface to the Holoy Teachings by Wang Xingman ) (f ig. 1 6 ) which emphasiz es the artist The following sections introduce the political and religious force s that inspi red the composition of Taizon s Preface and the Prince s Notes to the Preface Each stele will be discuss ed in detail, including its appearance, inscriptions, and the calligrapher I will issemination, as well as the political and religious implication on the erectoion of each stele. 15 XTS 3.53 & 3.55. Two famous Tang poets, Bo Juyi (772 846) and Liu Yuxi (772 842) were respectively appointed and served as the Regional Inspector of Tongzhou during Wenzong's era (r. 827 840), s ee XTS 17.560, 160.4212. 16 For more details see Li Yuzheng ed., Xi an Beilin shufa y ishu 130. 17 Very little is known about Wang Xingman, as no information recorded in XTS or JTS Wang Chang mentioned about Wang Xingman penned the Han Liang bei (Stele of Han Liang) in Fuping County, Shaanxi P rovince in his Jinshi cuibian 49.24b, in Shi ke shi liao xian bian 2 836. The new archaeological excavation discovered a stele called Zhou Hu bei (Stele of Zhou Hu) transcribed by Wang Xingman and erected in 658, but no rubbing s made yet see Shi Zhecun, ed., Tangbei baixuan 82.
90 Preface Notes to the Preface The exaltation Preface and the Notes to the Preface was more likely part of a political strategy in addition to an affirmation of personal religious conviction under ideology to balance the power of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism throughout the entire regime, 18 Claiming direct descent fr om Laozi (the legendary founder of Daoism), 19 through their surname Li members of the Tang imperial family maintained close relations with Daoist priests. 20 Not all Tang emperors were enthusiastic supporters of Buddhism, and in fact Emperors Gaozu and Taizong t ended to view Buddhism with disdain and tried to suppress it. 21 Nevertheless the Tang emperors also understood the potential political value of Buddhism Buddhism not only survived, but went on to formulat e doctrines that succes sfully propagated the religion throughout China and East Asia 22 Emperor Taizong was well known for his ability to balance religious and political 18 The has been widely discussed by modern scholars; see Wright and Twitchett, eds., 14 25; see also t Calligraphy of the Early 34 and tsung and Buddhism 63. 19 Laozi was regarded as the founder of early philosophical Daoism (the religious Daoism was developed later). The earliest reliable referen ce (circa 100 BCE ) to Laozi is found in the Shiji ( Records of the Grand Historian) by Sima Qian (ca. 145 86 BCE ), in which Laozi was said to be a contemporary of Confucius (551 479 BCE ) and h is surname was Li with given name Er ( ) or Dan ( ) served as an official in the imperial archives in the Zhou dynasty during the 6th century BCE 20 Li Yuan was persuaded by a Daoist priest, Wang Yuanzhi to believe that he (Li) was the recipient of the Heavenly Mandate to claim the throne. Biogra p hy of Wang Yuanzhi is in JTS 192.5125 and XTS 204.5804. 21 For details see Stanley Weinstein, Buddhism under the Tang 5 7; also Fo zu tong ji T 4 9.362c 22 Stanley Weinstein , the doctrinal side Buddhism [i.e. three major philosophical schools: Tiantai Faxiang and Huayan ] reached its highest level of devel opment under this dynasty
91 pilgrimage to India. Whereas othe r members of the elite class were impressed by the enormous number of Buddhist texts the monk brought back from India, Taizong was throughout the lands in which he traveled 23 Nevertheless, the historical documents evidenced that Taizong had been a strong Buddhist scriptures For instance, i n ct, including installing Xuanzang in the Hongfu Temple near the imperial palace in (579 648) was ordered to make the necessary arrangements to assist the project, i ncluding the services of theory provers, literary composers, callaigraphy instructors copyists, etc. ( , ) and n o less than twenty three monks drawn from monasteries throughout China to collaborate with Xuanzang, among them many distingui shed monks, such as Daoxuan Xuanying and Jingmai 24 In the summer of the twenty second year of the Zhenguan era (648), Xuanzang had just completed his translation of a 100 volume set of the Buddhist text when he was summoned to the Yu Hua Palace by Emperor Taizong. 25 23 For more details see tsung and Buddhism 24 see T 50.253c 254a see also Da Sanzang f ashi zhuan 131, and Biography of the Tripitaka Master 179 80 25 Yuhua Palace wa s built by Taizong in 647 as a distant palace, located in the mountains to the north of stayed until early summer after meeting Xuanzang. For the details o f Yuhua Palace see T HY 30.555 56 The Da Sanzang f ashi zhuan 137 38
92 China in early 645, this meeting was the first ti me that the Emperor inspected the texts that Xuanzang had translated. 26 After examining the s criptures, Taizong praised the Confucianism and Daoism, including all the nine schools of t hought, are merely a small 27 He immediately ordered the authorities to instruct the copyists of the Imperial Secretariat to make copies of the translated scripture for people in the whole land might receive 28 of Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao xu in his own hand. 29 The Emperor ordered his writing to be placed at the beginning of the translated S cripture as a preface and to be read aloud in the presence of all court officials. 30 The Preface Buddhism and glorification 26 Details on the dates and places held for those meetings see Da f ashi zhuan 127 45. 27 Da Tang Da Ci e n si San zang fashi zhuan 141; t ranslation of statement is from Biography of the Tripitaka Master 194. 28 Da Tang Da Ci n si Sanzang fashi zhuan 141. Translation is from Biograph y of the Tripitaka Master 194 29 A ccording to Xuanzang fashi xing zhuang in T 50.218a, the date was August 4 th of 648. 30 The event was r ecorded in Da Tang Da Ci e n si Sanzang fashi zhuan 142 and also in Biography of the Tripitaka Master 195 96 composition .. .He wrote it with his own hand and ordered it to be placed at the beginning of the various scriptures. The Emperor, [who was] staying at the Qingfu Palace, attende d and guarded by different officials, asked the Master to be seated and ordered Shanguan Yi (ca. 608 664), a scholar of the Institute for the Expansion of Culture, to read aloud the preface the emperor had composed in the presence of all the officials.
93 t is my hope that the c irculation and distribution of this scripture will be as everlasting as the sun and moon, and that the far reaching expanse of the blessings therein will share with Heaven and Earth 31 By considering Buddha s words as eternal and descr ibing Buddha s blessings commensurate with f Buddhism was highly influential. The Preface composed by Taizong reveals the complex religious and political perception that contextualizes my study I hav e translated the Preface and ppendix C T he text of the Preface has been translated by other scholar s without or with few notes 32 I have f ur nished my own translation with extensive annotations in order to provi de a fuller understanding of th is important religious and historical statement Crown Prince, Li Zhi who was residing at the Chun gong ( Spring Palace ) composed an essay in which he praised the Preface 33 essay is known as the Not e s to the Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripitaka of the Great Tan g and contains 595 characters. Buddhism offered by these two literary compositions delivered a powerful me ssage to 31 Da Tang Da e n si Sanzang fashi zhuan 143: 32 Li Rongi trans., A Biography of the Tripitaka Master of the Great Ci en Monatery of the Great Tang Dynasty (1995), 196 99 ; Anthony Y u, trans Journey of the West 4.419 22 33 This event and the complete text of the Notes to the Preface are recorded in Da Tang Da Ci e n si Sanzang fashi zhuan 142 4 3
94 the Buddhist community. It became obvious that the Buddhist religion was not only accepted but highly esteemed by the imperial court. T his recognition aroused great joy in Buddhist societies all over the country. rama a Yancong (fl. 650 688) describes t he ir delight: Since the publication of the two holy prefaces [i.e. the Preface and the Notes to the Preface ] the princes and dukes, the vassals and religious and lay persons, as well as the common people danced with delight in praise of the Voice of Virtue. Both inside and outside the palace, the people praised the two compositions, and in less than twelve days they were widely known throughout the empire.... 34 Right after the Preface and the Notes to the Prefac e were composed, Abbot Yuanding of the Hongfu ( ) Monastery and some other monks in the capital sought a permanent form to preserve those valuable documents. 35 They requested permission to carve the texts on metal vessels or stone slabs and reserve them in monasteries, which the Emp eror granted. 36 a iren and some others of the [ Hongfu ] Monastery collected characters from among the calligraphies of Wang Xizhi General of the Right Army of the Jin dynasty, and had them engraved on slabs as it is recorded in monk Huil Xuanzang 37 34 See Da Tang Da Ci e n si Sanzang fashi zhuan 148 ; translation is from The Biography of the Tripitaka Master 207 35 Hongfu monastery located at the Xiude residential quarter of the palace was made as a monastery in 634 by Taizong in honor of his deceased mother, Empress Mu It was re named as Xingfu Monastery in 707 see T HY 48 .845 in which the name of monastery in Chinese is given as but in Da Tang Da e n si Sanzang fashi zhuan it is written as Hongfu Monastery was where monk Xuanzang was residing and working on his translation projects from 645 to 648 see Da Tang Da e n si Sanzang fashi zhuan 131 58 36 Da Tang Da Ci n si Sanzang fashi zhuan 148. 37 Ibid.; see also Biography of the Tripitaka Maste r y 207.
95 although no document indicates the exact starting time. In 672, more than two decades after the original text had been composed by the Emperor and the Prince, the project was eventually completed and a stele was erected. Stele of Ji Wang Xizhi S hengjiao X u B ing J i Engraved with characters selected from the calligraphies of Wang Xizhi, the stele Preface Notes to the Preface can be seen today at Ji Wang Xizhi s hengjiao xu bing ji ( the Preface and the Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teaching with the ) The top of the stele is carved with seven Buddha heads hence this stele is sometimes referred to as the Qifotou shengjiaobei (Stele of Holy Teaching with Seven Buddha Heads). 38 It is 350 cm in height and 100 cm in width. 39 The body of the stele ( beishen ) is filled with inscriptions. There are 30 columns of text, each of which contains 83 to 84 characters. Each character is about 3.5 c m in width and 4 cm in height, which is well suited for a medium size calligraphy script. The complete text can be read clearly except for a few words in the upper middle part of the stele where a crack obliquely crosses the body. 40 38 Li Yuzheng Xi an Beilin s hufa y ishu 54. 39 The measurements are various in different sources. 350 cm. x 100 cm in Li Yuzheng, Xi an Beilin s hufa y ishu 54; 9 is recorded in Wang Chang s, Jinshi cuibian 49.13 in Shike shiliao xinbian 2 831 40 It was already noticed and mentioned by Liu Shengmu Huan yu fang bei lu jiaokan ji 4.4 in Shike shiliao xinbian 27.20125.
96 The stele begins with t he title Da Tang Sanzang s hengjiao x u Next to the title, two important statements ( Composed by Taizong, the Literary Emperor ) 41 ( Monk Huairen in Hongfu Monastery collected the characters from the calligraphies of Wang Xizhi, General of the Right Army of the Jin dynasty [ to are presente d in one line. This statement of calligraphic authorship 42 is followed by five individual bodies of text : the complete text of Preface ( ten lines), (one line), Notes to the Preface ( ten line s), letter (one line), and a paragraph from the Heart Sutra (five lines) At the end of the main text, five high officials are credited with giving the translation of the sutra a proper elegance and finish. They are (1) Yu Zhining Grand Mentor of the Heir Apparent, Imperial Secretary, East Sector of Chief Administrator, and Duke of Yan State ( ) ; (2) Lai Ji Secretariat Director, and Dynasty founding District Baron of Nanyang ( ); (3) Xu J ingz ong Minister of Rites, and Dynasty founding District Baron of Gaoyang ( ); (4) Xue Yuanchao Acting Vice Director of the Chancellery, and East Sector of the Palace Cadets ( ); (5) Li Yifu Acting Vice Director of the Secretariat, an d West Sector of Palace Cadet ( ) 41 T he posthumous Memorial titl (literary) wa s bestowed to Taizong at his death on 649 42 I use the term calligraphic authorship to denote the person transcribed the text. This person is different from the textural author, who composed the original text.
97 eighth day of the twelfth month in the third year of [Gaozong] Xianheng era , erected by the Buddhist priests in the capital; calligraphies engraved on the stone by civil official Gentleman litterateur, Zhuge Shenli, and Commandant of Militant Cavalry, Zhu Jingzang ( ; 43 It may be assumed that an important project like this, which involved engraving characters from the collected calligraphies of Wang Xizhi, required the best possible engraver. Surprisingly the only trace of information about the engraver emerges out of in Jiangsu which delineates 44 Zhuge Shenli was a descendant of the famous Zhuge Liang (181 234), the Chancellor of Shu Han during the Three Kingdom period (220 280), and was considered the most accomplished strategist of his er study the masterpieces in the imperial collection Along with other highly trained cop yists such as Feng Chengsu, Zho Mo, and Han Daozheng, Zhuge Zhen was responsible for tracing the Langti xu 45 in partnership with Feng Chengsu Yu e Yi lun 46 According to the 43 In Chinese i and are synonyms, meaning to engrave characters into stone s. 44 Jin Tang f ashu mingji 66. 45 Ho Yanzhi, Lanting ji in FSYL 3.130: [ ] , , , 46 Wu Pingyi Xushi fashu ji in FSYL 3.114 : ,
98 Zhuge Clan History Zhuge Zhen carried the official title Gentleman litterateur ( w en linlang ). 47 It is very possible that Zhuge Shenli was serving the court in a capacity similar to his brother and that was the title signed on the stele. E Xianqing era 48 preparations to create the Ji Wang stele were most likely launched during Taizong s era named their titles on the stele with the ones appointed during the Zhenguan reign of Taizong and the early years of the Yonghui reign of Gaizong. 49 The Tang court and monastery probably had never ceased to support this project since it was intended to promote Wang Xizhi s styl e of calligraphy. The task took an excessively long time to complete probably due to inherent technical challenges. Prior to the Ji Wang stele, no stone had been engraved by assembling characters from va rious pieces written by a single calligrapher. 50 To co mplete a monumental task like 47 Jin Tang f ashu mingji 66, 48 JTS 191 .5109 :  49 JTS 4 .69: Yu Zhining was appointed as Imperial Secretrary, East Sector of Chief Administrator ( shangshu cuopuye ) in the s econd year of Yonghui (651) JTS 4.75: Yu Zhining was added the title Grand Mentor of the Heir Appparent ( taizi taifu ) in the first year of Xianqing (656); JTS 4.47: Lai Ji was appointed as Secretariat Director ( zhongshu ling ) in the sixth year of Yonghui (655); JTS 4.66 and 4.77: Xu Jingzong was appointed as Ministry of Rites ( libu shangshu ) before the the first year of Yonghui (650) JTS 4.77: Li Yifu was promoted from Vice Director of the Secretariat ( zhongshu shilang ) to Secretaria t Director ( zhongshu ling ) in second year of Xianqing (657 ). 50 After Huairen attempted to compile characters from Wang Xizhi to assemble the complete inscription of Shengjiao xu there were 18 different stele made in the similar fashion, such as the S tele of Xinfu si ( ) the Stele of Tianzun the Daoist Priest ( ) the Stele of Diamond Sutra ( ) etc., see Zheng Congming, Shilun J izi shengjiaoxu d e tishi tezheng 1 1 and Shi Zhicun Tangbei baixuan 1 16 for more steles made in that nature.
99 the production of the Ji Wang stele required immense effort to search for and select the most suitable characters needed for the composition. Aside from the challenge of collecting the characters from various pieces written by Wang Xizhi, the most difficult and intricate aspect of completing the stele must have been creating a homogeneous effect while integrating the various sizes of characters from the original hand Special techniques were likely employed, such as using l ight cast shadow s to enlarge or reduce the original characters. 51 To re construct the characters in the texts without having have to be created either by interpolating them fr om partial fractions of W In this case the m onk Huairen was the commonly acknowledged contributor. T here was a great deal of speculation about the d ifficult y of overcom ing the o bstacles to comple te the Ji Wang stele. One of the most distinguished art critics of the Ming dynasty, Dong Qichang (1555 1636), even argued that the entire inscription on the Ji Wang stele was penned by Huairen and Dong changed the commonly known title Ji Wang Xizhi s hengjiao xu to Hu a iren s hengjiao xu ( Preface to the Holy Teaching with the calligraphy of Huairen ) based on the fact that during the Tang dynasty the rubbings from this stele were named Xiao Wang Shu ( Calligraphy of Small Wang or Calligraphy of Wang Junior ), which suggest ed to him t hat the inscriptions were penned by Huairen. 52 However, the later critic Wang Su (1668 He declared that 51 Z heng Congming Shilun J izi shengjiaoxu d e tishi tezheng 11. 52 Dong Qichang, Huachanshi suibi in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu, 3.1012a
100 Huiren s calligraphy was not even one stroke the same as W ang s on the basis of a Lanting tie a model book made out of Wang Xizhi s Lanting xu 53 Unfortunately, th e particular version of the Lanting tie availabl e and with no writing, the argument of whether or not the Ji Wang stele was penned by Huairen is moot. Many art historians and critics have attempted to trace the provenance of 54 assemblage was b ased on the Tang A m odern art historian Zheng Congming even compares many of the individual characters carved on the stele of Ji Wang with the existing calligraphy models of Wang Xizhi made in later periods such a s Lanting tie Sangluan tie Pingan tie and Kuaixue shiqing tie 55 According to Zheng, about 94 characters are attributed to these popular models, 69 of which originated from the most popular model, Lanting tie But this comparison is not necessarily reliable, since there were numerous versions of the Lanting model books produced and Zheng did not specify which particular version he used. T he time difference between the inscriptions on the Ji Wang stele and the characters in th ese later en graved model books even the best books from the Song dynasty (such as Chunhua ge tie Model Letters in the Imperial Archives Made in the Chunhua 53 Wang Shu Xuzhou tiba in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 8. 818a 54 Jin Tang f ashu mingji 66 ; Nakata Yujiro Gishi o ch shin to suru h j no kenky 268 69 ; Zheng Congming, Shilun J izi shengjiaoxu d e tishi tezheng 22 152. 55 Zheng Congming, ibid., 139 52.
101 Era produced in 992), means that the later books are further from the original source. 56 Therefore, the engraved inscriptions on the Ji Wang stele assuming based on the selected pieces from early Tang imperial collection, have a much higher degree of authenticity. T he original intent of the monks from Hongfu monastery to create a monumental Hu a he Ji Wang stele became one of the most esteemed works in the history of calligraphy. The impact of this accomplishment is undoubtedly twofold: n ot only could court calligraphers practice calligraphy with rubbings from the Ji Wang but sutra scribes also u sed these rubbings as the calligraphic sources of their copies. 57 Proportional to their monumental purpose, the characters inscribed on stones are usually much larger than the ones used for ordinary handwriting. From this perspective the size of characte rs on the Ji Wang stele became an issue since the y had to be calligraphies. In order to accommodate the writing, the characters appearing on the Ji Wang stele are relatively small ( each 3.5 x 4 cm ) in size compared with standard size d stone inscriptions. 58 To fill in the large surface space of the stone, other texts were added. 56 Tang Chu Suiliang Youjun shumu in F SYL 3 88 100. Very few of th e se originals remained in later engraved model letters compendia, such as the well known Chunhua ge tie Shunkei Lijima compared the importance of the stele of Ji Wang with the popular Chunhua ge tie and claimed the time difference made the former one with much higher degree of authenticity than the latter one in reflecting the original style o f Wang Xizhi. See Shunkei Lijima, Ippi itch Ch goku hi h cho seika 6.. 57 58 Comparing with most of Tang inscribed steles, t h e size of characters in the Ji Wang appears smaller; however, it can b e considered as the good dimension for a medium sized model book for calligraphy practice.
102 This was likely the reason why a section of the Heart Sutra and correspondence between the emperors and Xua nzang were included. T he calligraphic value of the Ji Wang stele has been highly acclaimed in literary references from the Song dynasty onward s The tributes include numerous well known epigraphists who had either pa id an actual visit to the famed stele or had read and/or owned rubbings taken from it. 59 Among them, Wang Chang s (17 25 18 08 ) Jinshi cuibian (Collective Writings on Stone Engravings) contains the most stele but also other pertinent literary references and calligraphic critiques. The most sweeping appraisal is probably a statement made by Zhao Han (fl. 1615 1620), a renowned specialist in the field of metal and stone inscriptions, who sa id bei has been the model for calligraphy for hundreds of generations, and now it is even more 60 as the s calligraphy was extremely valuable and rather scarce even in the early Tang calligraphic tradition in the most comprehensive way. It offered the greatest repertoire of 61 59 Zhao Han, Shimo juanhua 2.5 b in Shi ke shi liao congshu Yi bian 7 ; Gu Yanwu, Jinshi wenzi ji 166 67; Qian Daxin, Qianyan tang jinshi wen bawei 4.22 23, in Shike shiliao xinbian 25.18787 88 ; Wang Chang Jinshi cuibian 49.13 23 in Shike shiliao xinbian 2.831 36; Sun Xingyan, Huanyu fangbei lu 3.6 in Shike shiliao xinbian 26.19880 ; Liu Shengmu, Huan yu fang bei lu jiaokan ji 4 5 in Shike shiliao xin bian 27.20215 6. Huang Bosi, Dong guan yu lun 33b 34a ; Wang Su Xuzhou tiba in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 8. 8 05 a ; Ye Changchi Yu shi 1.9 in Shanhai shudian 1986 printed ed, 12 ; Liu Xizai, Yi gai 153 54. 60 Zhao Han, Shimo juanhua 2.5b, in Shi ke sh liao congshu , 61 Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 14.
103 It is reasonable to presume that Monk Huairen, a distant descendant of Wang rubbings could style. In fact, it stands as one of the first calligraphy model (tie ) to be cut into stone. 62 As the Buddhist monasteries were supporting calligraphy education as vigorously as the court during the early Tang, it is possible th at both court calligraphers and sutra copyists were using rubbings from the Ji Wang as model to l earn the style highly promoted by the court. The installation of this stele was an extraordinary cultural phenomenon at the time. The pursuit of cultural and aesthetic excellence demanded by the leading Buddhist monks who successfully erected a Buddhist stele with characters collected from the reflect ed the dynamic links between Buddhism and calligraphic tradition during the early Tang The stele also ultural elite who played a major role in influencing the development of Chinese calligraphy. Steles of Yanta S hengjiao X u B ing J i A dditional steles were erected with the texts of the Preface and Notes to the Preface as the vitality of the Buddhist community grew and much Buddhists understood the potence of these steles to the spread of their religion. A pair of steles of such, is the well known Yanta s hengjiao xu bing ji 62 Ibid.
104 One of the pair is engraved with the text of the Preface ; eight characters (The Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripitaka of the Great Tang Dynasty) are carved across the top of the stele in two columns (four characters on each) that run from right to left in official script. 63 The other one of the pair is with the text of the Notes to the Preface ; another eight characters (The Notes to the Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripi taka of the Great Tang Dynasty) are aligned in two columns from left to right in seal script Both stel es are about 200 cm in height but the width for the Preface is 85 cm and that for the Notes to the Preface is 110 cm. 64 The Preface has 21 columns of te xt. Each has a maximum length of 42 characters and runs from right to left. The Notes to the Preface has 20 columns with 40 characters maximum in each, running from left to right, which is unconventional. This reversal of form indicates that these two stel es were carefully designed to be seen as a symmetrical pair. The characters on the Notes appear slightly bigger than the ones in the Preface. The texts of the two stones were transcribed by Chu Suiliang, the most revered calligrapher at his time and carve d by Wan Wenshao a reputable Tang e ngraver. 65 When Chu Suiliang penned the Preface and the Notes to the Preface he added the post colophon on each text respectively with the date followed by his official titles and name. On the Preface it reads erected on the fi fteenth day in the tenth month of 63 As it across the top of stele also as the head of stele, it is named guishou guie or beishou 64 The measurement is cited from Song versi on of rubbing in the collection of Tokyo National Museum, while the size of two stel es given by Wang Chang in his Jinshi cuibian is slightly wider ( ). 65 Huang Xifan Kebei xingming lu 247.
105 the fourth year of Yuanhui era [i.e. 653]), penned by Grand Councilor ( zhongshu lin ) Chu Suiliang. On the Notes to the Preface it reads, erected on the tenth day in the twelfth month of the fourth year of Yuanhui era [i.e. 653]), penned by Vice Director of the Imperial Secretariat ( Shangshu youpuye ) Supreme Pillar of State ( Shang zhuguo ) and Dynasty founding Duke of Henan (Henanjun kaiguogong ) Chu Suiliang. Chu Suiliang had a long political career. H e specifically included his official title appointed by Taizong at the end of the Preface and all three of his official titles appointed by Gaozong at the end of the Notes to the Preface 66 The engraving of all these titles publicized his high rank official positions The completion of the inscriptions and the erection of these two steles reveal a complex and intricate relationship among politics, religion, and art production. This pair of steles was originally erected at the Great Goose Pagoda at the Monastery, and can still be seen there today The Preface is positioned to the east and the Notes to the Preface to the west of the south entrance to the Pagoda. 67 n Monastery was begun in 648 by a decree of the Crown Prince, Li Zhi, who dedic ate d the structure to his deceased mother, Empress Wende ( ), who was a 66 Chu Suiliang was bestowed the appointment zhongshu lin ) in 648 by Taizong and that was the last one among many other honors and titles Chu received from Taizong see XTS 105.4028. When Prince Li Zhi was succeeded Taizong and enthroned as Gaozong in 649 Chu Suiliang was bestowed the appointment of Dynasty founding Duke of Henan ( ); soon later Chu Suiliang was disparaged to Tongzhou as Regional Inspector (Tongzhou cishi ). By the third year of Yonghui era of Gaozong (652), Chu was called back to the court from Tongzhou and appointed the title Mister o f Personnel ( Libu shangshu ) followed by another title Vice Director of the Imperial Secretariat ( Shangshu youpuye ) appointed a year later in 653 see XTS 105.4028. 67 With location desgination of either the pagoda or the monastery, Yanta Shengji ao xu bing ji is also known xu bing ji
106 dedicated Buddhist. That decree was made shortly after the Crown Prince wrote the Notes to the Preface He also ordered the construct ion of a separate house, Fanjing yuan as a place for Xuanzang to translate Buddhist scriptures. Xuanz ang was asked to be in charge of the monastery as its abbot, but he turned down the offer Not in 649 did Xuanzang finally take up residence in Fanjing yuan in order to engage himself exclusively in his translation work. 68 Thre e years later, in the spring of 652, Xuanzang decided to construct a stone pagoda in the style of the Western Region (i.e. India) by the main gate of the monastery. It was intended as a place to safely store the Buddhist scriptures and images he had brough t back from the western countries. The plan was thoroughly supported by Gaozong. The pagoda was constructed with br i cks i n the Indian stupa style. Five stories tall and about 180 feet in height it was situated in the west courtyard of the monastery Monk Huili record ed this information in his biography of Xuanzang which states : n the top storey was a stone chamber with two slabs on the southern side, one inscribed with the Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripitaka composed by the late Emperor [i.e. Taizong], and the other one with the Postscript written by the reigning Emperor [i.e. Gaozong]. The inscriptions were engraved in the calligraphy of the Right Premier Chu Suiliang, the Duke of Henan 69 The completion and erection of monumental steles lik e Shenjiao xu was undoubtedly approved by Emperor Gaozong, but who or what was the force behind it was not clearly documented. It is reasonable to presume that Xuanzang who was 68 The Biography of the Tripitaka Master 207 216 217, and 222. 69 Ibid., 226.
107 made the request. It is also possibl e that he asked for the best calligrapher, Chu Suiliang, to transcribe the text. Several instances Xuanzang and Buddhism. When Xuanzang was summoned to Yuhua Palace in the summe r of 648, Chu Suiliang accompanied Taizong. Afterwards, Chu and several other comprehensio 70 admiration for and faith in the Buddhist teachings. At the end of 648 (on the 23 rd day of the 12 th month), several Buddha images, both embroidered and painted, were moved from Hongfu Monas Monastery Chu Suilinag was ordered by the Emperor to receive and place them in the main hall. 71 Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the steles containing the texts that praise Xuanzang and inscriptions transcribed by Chu Suil The exact date of the placement for the pair of stel es is still debatable The account that describes the placement of the steles in the pagoda falls into a chapter that records events happening b frame correspond s with the actual dates carved on the stel es There are other historical sources however, that suggest an inconsisten cy regarding the date o f the dedicati o n Jiu Tangshu compi led in the ninth century by Liu Xu (887 946) states 70 Ibid., 194. 71 Ibid., 219.
108 I n 656 the engraved stele s were sent to the Monastery 72 This is two to four years later than the date recorded in Xuanzang s biography compiled by Huili and different from the dates carved o n the stones. Neverthe le ss the year 656 matches with the date recorded in another document, Xu gaoseng chuan ( Sequel to the Biographies of Eminent Monks ) compiled by the eminent m onk Dao Xuan (596 667). 73 Dao Xuan was a contemporary of Xuanzang an d his dates are more likely to be correct. This was probably the reason why the Jiu Tangshu an official Tang history postuated that date. This discrepancy in dating the famous steles may reflect the political turmoil that followed the fall of 648, Chu Suiliang was chosen by Taizong to be the Grand Councilor a position that required him to consult regularly with the Emperor and to participate in major governmental decisions. 74 The following spring when Taizong was severely ill, he a sked Chu Suiliang to assist the new emperor after his death. In the summer of 649 Gaozong ascended to the throne, and soon after that he made drastic changes in court personnel s. Chu Suiliang was demoted from being Grand Councilor to a position as a Region al Inspector in a remote place Tongzhou in the eleventh month of the first year of Gaozong Yonghui era (650) 75 During the next two years, the country underwent several natural disasters. By the first month of the third year of the Yonghui era (652), Gaozon g recalled Chu Suiliang back to the court 72 JTS 4 75 : 73 T 50 457b, it records the e vent with the date 656. 74 XTS 2.47 105.4028. 75 Ibid., 3.53 105.4028, and JXS 4.68
109 and bestowed upon him a high official appointment as a Minister of Personnel in the Secretariat ( libu shangshu ). A year later (653), Chu Suiliang was promoted to the position of Vice Director of the Imperial S ecretariat In the tenth month of the same Preface Notes to the Preface dated work. Considering how much Chu was rev ered as the finest calligrapher at that time, it is possible that the idea of having Chu transcribe the famous texts by the Emperor and the Prince arose shortly after the texts were composed, but the political disturbance prevented that idea from materiali zing. It is understandable that Xuanzang the court. One of t he key figure s behind this political turmoil was Wu Zhao also known as W u Zetian (625 705) who at co ncubine, which angered many Tang officials including Chu Suiliang 76 demotion to Tongzhou. Two years later, in 653, after he was recalled back to the court and promoted to a higher position Chu transcribed the two famous texts. In 655 Gaozong intended to depose his empress, Wang This plan was vigorously opposed by Chu and in the ninth month of that year he was again condemn ed and sent to a remote county. This time he was sent to Tanzhou (in modern Changsa, Hunan Province) 77 A month later, Wu Zhao was crowned as an empress by Gaozong. Due to Wu Zhao s 76 XTS 4.81 77 JTS 4.74 75, see also XTS 3.56 and 105.4028.
110 increased political clout it is possible that the beautifully inscribed steles were not officially dedicated until 656, when Chu was finally sent away. It is also reasonable however, to presume that the final dedication of the steles was, in part, due to the effort of Wu Zhao, who was a devoted Buddhist Her dedication to B uddhism may have equaled her political ambition. 78 Her contribution to Buddhism in general and Buddhist art in particular is well known. 79 A recent study claims that Wu man y ways as possible, in part for garnering religious merit. 80 Curiously, some of these printed messages were discovered in Korea and Japan, but none in China, a fact that might be attributed, once again, to political reasons; her opponents might have been tr ying to erase her achievements after her death. 81 During the time period when China was governed by Empress Wu (r. 696 705), many Buddhist translation projects were initiated and accomplished under her order. 82 In 700 Empress Wu summoned monk Yijing (635 713) 83 to the East Palace and 78 Fozu tongji T 49.369b 371a; Jan Yunhua, trans., A Chronicle of Buddhism in China 44 47; R.W.L. Guisso, Wu Tse t ien and the Politic s of Legitimation in T ang China 79 Fozu tongji ibid.; R.W.L. Guisso, ibid.; Rong Xinjiang, Tangdai zongjiao xinyang yu shehui 203 249. 80 T. H. Barrett, The Woman Who Discovered Printing 131. 81 Ibid., 131 32. 82 Fozu tongji T 49.369b 371a; A Chronicle of Buddhism in China 44 47. 83 Monk Yi Jing (635 713) was one of the well known monks in Tang. He was an admirer of Monk Xuanzang and became a monk at age 14 when Xuanzang finished his translation of a 100 volume set of the Bud dhist text for Taizong Yi Jing began his journey to India, and studied in Srivijaya. In year 695, he returned back to Tang China at Luoyang and received a grand welco me back by Empress Wu His total journey took 25 years. He brought back some 400 Buddhist translated texts. ( Account of Buddhism sent from the South Seas) and (Buddhist Monks Pilgrimage of Tang Dynasty) are two of Yi Jing's best travel diaries, describing his adventurous journey to Srivi jaya and India. He translated more than 60 sutras into Chinese Yi J i ng s biography is in Song gaoseng zhuan 1 4.
111 commanded him to translate the Sutra of the Most Honored King ; meanwhile Empress Wu composed a preface to the translation and named it Sanzang s hengjiao xu 84 It bear s the same title as Tangzong s famous P reface to Xuanzang s translation but different text The complete text of the Empress preface is recorded in Quan Tang wen (Complete Literatures of the Tang Dynasty) 85 The original writing was long considered lost, but a fragment of the handwritten copy of Preface was among Dunhuang discover ies 86 In the early eighth century, between 701 and 704, Empress Wu had the pagoda at rebuilt as a seven story structure with brick s in the Chinese style. During the reign of Emperor Zhongzon g (705 709), the pagoda was named the Yan ta ( Goose Pagoda ) There was another smaller Goose Pagoda built later in the eighth century also The earlier one was named the Great Goose Pagoda and the later one the Small Goose Pagoda The two steles were at one point moved to the ground floor where they flanked the south entrance of the pagoda This pair of steles is well preserved. Because there are only few cuts or broken lines, many faultless rubbings can still be obtained. These rubbings h ave long been considered precious and collect able items, and have been used as models for calligraphy practice. A free hand copy of the Yanta inscription, presumably using the 84 T 49.370c. 85 Quan Tang wen 97. 7 8, in Datong shuju (1979) ed., 1254. 86 It is now housed in the Dunhuang collection of the Bibliothque Nat ionale de France (P.3831).
112 Yanta version as a model was among the discovered Dunhuang manuscripts (fig. 1 7 ). 87 This will be discussed in detail in C hapter 5 Able to identify the authentic works of Wang Xizhi and to free works Chu was the best and most authoritative figure Taizong could employ to collect and promote Wang Xizhi s work. Unfo rtunately, none of the extant free hand manuscripts be verified for originality and authentic work lies in the inscriptions engraved on the stones. Among the few steles transcribe d by Chu Suiliang, this pair of stele s, the Yanta s hengjiaoxu bing ji is considered the best example of his work, 88 and is most likely leading teacher of all Tang times. 89 Imbued with ularity and self expressive strokes Chu Suiliang s calligraphy exhibits the style which ha s e fully integrated the firmness of standard script entleness and fluidity showing through the powerful wri s t work 90 His style influenced the form ation of Tang kai the standard script of the Tang which came to be used as model for generations to come. The completion and erection of the Yanta stele a masterpiece of calligraphic art, also satisfied political and religious agendas. For Buddhists, the Yanta was a symbol of 87 N ow it is housed in the collection of the Bibliothque Nationale de France (P.2780) See Wo Xinghua, Dunhuang shufa yishu 31, fig s 2 5 Also mentioned in Shufa tiand i compiled by Ouyang Zhongshi, 220. 88 Liang Zhangju, Tuian suocang jinshi shuhua bawei in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 9.1011: 89 Liu Xizai, Shugai in LTSF 702: 90
113 their religious success. For the Tang court, it offered a worthy model for the s tandardiz ed script. Steles of Tongzhou S hengjiao X u and Yanshi S hengjiao X u The aesthetic and cu ltural value of the Preface and the Notes to the Preface grew congruently along with their strong political and religious implications. Thus, it is not surprising that in addition to the Ji Wang and Yanta there are m ore stel es engraved with the famous te xts of the Preface and the Notes to the Preface At least two other notable steles of this situation are known to us One is the Tongzhou s hengjiao xu (see fig. 1 5 ), which was origin ally erected in Tongzhou Shaanxi Province, but was moved to Beilin The other one is Yanshi s hengjiao xu (see fig. 1 6 ) currently housed in the Study Hall of Yanshi ( ) The stele was made upon a request by the monks from Zhaoti Monastery ( ) of Yanshi c ounty in Henan Province, and it was probably erected in that Monastery first but at some point moved to the Study Hall The Tongzho u and Yanshi stel es compar atively speaking, have been less studied by modern scholars, mainly because Ji Wang and Yanta were valued for the calligraphies of famous hands, while the penmanship of Tongzhou is less certain and that of Yanshi is attributed to a less famed calligrapher In addition to the se four steles there may have been one other that was penned by Chu Suiliang in a running script This was briefly mentioned by a Qing scholar Wang Chang in his Collective Writings on Stone Engravings but without a specific reference to its location 91 The stele is dat ed "the third year of Xianhong," which was 672. This piece of information lodges this stele 91 Wang Chang, Jinshi Cuibian 49.20, in Shi ke shi liao xin bian 834.
114 in a disputable situation, as Chu Suiliang had been dead for more than a decade by the year 672. Another epigraphist, Liang Zhangju (1775 1849), not only mention s this stele in his Compendium but adds a striking comment that "the running script of Chu Suiliang s calligraphy on this stele was the or i ginal model for Song Emperor Huizong s shoujin ti (gold slender style). 92 Liang too, confirms that it had been long gone. In fact, w hether it ever existed at all is still in question. Stele of Tongzhou s hengjiao xu The stele of Tongzhou is a large stele, 414 cm in height and 113 cm in width. 93 It is now located i n the Second Chamber of Beilin e also finds the stele of Ji Wang T he top (head) of the Tongzhou stele is carved with eight characters: (Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripitaka of the Great Tang Dynasty) in official script, symmetrically placed into two columns that read from right to left. The body of the stele is filled with the texts of both the Preface and the Notes to the Preface, totaling close to 1,600 characters, written in standard script and engraved in grids of 29 columns and 58 horizontal rows The last two columns of th e T ongzhou inscription have created confusion as they e 23 rd day in the 6 th month of the third year of Longsuo Suiliang penned when serving ) on line two. Since 92 Liang Zhangju, Tuian suocang jinshi shuhua bawei in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 9.1011 93 a n B eilin shufa yishu Jinshi cuibian 49.25,
115 Chu Suiliang died in the year 658, 94 the date 663 immediately puts the authorship in dispute T he art s signature without an official titl e also contradicts the fashion at that time. This Tongzhou stele has been commonly attributed as a replica of the famous Yanta T he superb quality of the Tongzhou however, raises interesting questions. Those who praise the Tongzhou version often emphasi ze the clearness and the strength of the brushwork and do not believe that Tongzhou is only a replica. For instance, epigraphist Zhao Han (fl. 1615 1620 ) extolled the crisp, lively, and sharpened strokes on the Tongzhou and argued Yanta version should be the original [due to the earlier date, but if the Tongzhou was a replica], I wonder how and why the Tongzhou shows a surpassing qu ality than the Yanta 95 Zhao Han s question about why the brushstrokes on the Tongzhou appeared fresher and sharper than those on the Yanta may be explained by the fact that d ue to the authenticity of the Yanta version, more ink rubbings had been requeste d and made from the Yanta which result ed in the inevitable deterioration and impairment of its carved impression s In comparison, the less used Tongzhou version looked fresh and well preserved. The debate over w hether or not the Tongzhou was a replica of Yanta was carried on by many late Ming and Qing critics and epi graphists Wang Shu (1668 1743) claimed that t he Tongzhou version was simply a rep lica of the Yanta and a slight difference on the thinness or thickness of brushstrokes was caused by the han ds of 94 XHS 105.4029 als o in JTS 80.2739. 95 Zhao Han, Shimo juanhua 2.6a 6b in the series Shi ke shi liao cong shu Yi bian, 7 ; in Chinese : [ ] , .. [ ] ,
116 engravers. 96 Apparently W ang S h u noticed the different rendering of brushstrokes on these two steles, but he simply attributed it to a difference in engravers. On further examination Liang Zhangju argued that the Tongzhou was not a direct reproducti on but a free hand copy obtained from a rubbing of the Yanta The similarities and differences between the Yanta and Tongzhou according to Liang, reveal the strong possibility that the creator of the Tongzhou was a skillful calligrapher who used the rubbi ng of Yanta as a model but produced something that was superior to the original 97 Liang s argument suggests that the fresh beauty of the Tongzhou calligraphic skill, which has impressed many critics and connoisseurs. By c om paring the characters and strokes from the Yanta and the Tongzhou one can argue that the Tongzhou The two versions appear similar at first glance, but a close examination reveals differences. Yanta Tongzhou. The size of characters on the Tongzhou is quite even and well placed in fixed grids (see fig. 1 5 ) while in the Yanta many characters appear irregular. For example, the characters , in the Yanta version (fig. 1 8 ) are larger than the same ones in the Tongzhou version, which exhibit a much more uniform size throughout the entire inscription This evi dence demonstrates that the original Yanta 96 Wang S h u Xuzhou tiba in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 8.807; in Chinese: . 97 Liang Zhangju Tuian suocang jinshi shuhua bawei chuan 3, in Zhon gguo shuhua quanshu 9.1011, in Chinese:
117 expression, even though the Tongzhou version appears to be a careful and deliberate reflection of the hand of master Chu I would argue that the Yanta was used as a calli graphy model by a skillful artist to create the Tongzhou version, while the brushstrokes from the Tongzhou strength. The following observations about specific ways of handling brushstrokes from differen t hands lend more credence to this supposition. The beginning and ending points are rigid and forceful in most characters from the Tongzhou stele. Some obvious ones , , and pressing the brush side ways to leave a sharp angle while t he same characters in the Yanta were created by hiding the central point of the brush to create smooth beginning and ending points (fig. 1 9 ) ) (fig. 20 ) In the To ngzhou version, the tip of brush was used with deliberation to create a sharp and strong beginning and ending of four vertical, two horizontal strokes, and four dot strokes. In contrast, these strokes in the Yanta version look smooth, rounded, and effortle ss. They were accomplished by hiding the central point of the brush, which leaves no trace of any sharpness or angle either on the beginning or the ending point. The inscriptions on the Tongzhou offer excellent testimony to the fact that a good practition er working with a superb model could produce remarkable results ; thus one can find calligraphic merit in both the Tongzhou and Yanta versions of the steles A rt critic Sun Chengze (1592 1676) made an interesting comment about th ese two rk in] the Tongzhou is full of bone, while the Yanta is full of harmony
118 and expression 98 It is also worth mentioning that art critics usually made comments by comparing the rubbings that were available to them, instead of paying a visit to steles. Apparen tly, ink rubbings taken from these steles have become precious items for collectors Meanwhile, the collected rubbings were then especially after the printed method was employed after the Tang, often used as original for mass production to create model bo ok s for calligraphy practitioners While debates over the penmanship of Yanta and Tongzhou may always exist, it has become consensus among scholars that the Tongzhou stele was made by the people in Tongzhou to honor the memory of their beloved calligraphy master Chu Suiliang. Thus the primary reason for the erection of the stele may not necess ar ily have been to praise Buddhism, despite the fact that it is Buddhis t in content. Regardless, the raphy resulted, even if indirectly, in the promotion of Buddhism; the value and honor conferred on the calligraphic master could be transferred to Buddhism as well. Stele of Yanshi s hengjiao xu The Buddhist community continued to create steles to promot e their religion. Containing the texts of the Preface and the Notes to the Preface another extant stele is known as the Yanshi s hengjiao xu (see fig. 1 6 ) It was named after its location, Yanshi County in Henan Province. The inscription on the stele was t ranscribed by a skillful but lesser known calligrapher, Wang Xingman, hence it is sometimes identified as the stele of Wang Xingman s hengjiao xu 98 Sun Chenze Gengzi xiaoxia lu in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 7.805; in Chinese:
119 The Yanshi or the Wang Xingman is another large stone, 302 cm in height and 154 cm in width, engraved in 28 columns with 56 characters in each column. 99 The columns and rows form a distinct pattern of grids and the characters that fill each grid are written in standard script. The statement of penmanship is indicated right after the Zhaoti Temple, the stele was erected on the fifteenth day of the twelfth month in the second year of the Xianqing era [i.e ( ). During the Tang dynasty, a Zhaoti Monastery was in old Houshi County ( ), 100 which later became part of Yanshi County in Henan Province. The stele was moved and it currently resides in the Study Hall in Y anshi County. Little is known about Wang Xingman. Although his signature on the stele is accompanied by his official title, hardly any significant information about the artist can be found. Wang Xingman is not mentioned in the standard official historie s, the Jiu Tang shu and the Xin Tang shu (1771 1836) Jinshi cuibian do we learn that Wang Xingman inscribed another stele, Hang Liang bei at Fuping County in Shaanxi Province. 101 Ink rubbings of Hang Liang bei are scarce and not easily found, but new archaeological excavations reve aled a stele 99 Jinshi cunbian 49.24, in Shike shiliao xinbia n 2.836. 100 Modern Yanshi c ounty in Henan Province covers the territory of ancient Houshi C ounty 101 See Wang Chang, Jinshi cuibian 49.24b, in Shike shiliao xinbian 2. 836.
120 named Zhou Hu bei which was also inscribed by Wang Xingman Rubbings from this stele are yet to be made. 102 Although information is lacking about the artist the Yanshi stele was cited by many well known epigraphists in their accounts of historically significant epigraphs. 103 Qing epigraphist Liang Zhangju proudly declared that he had obtained a Yanshi rubbing near suburban Beijing. He proclaimed that the beauty of Yanshi surpassed Tongzhou 104 The Yanshi was dated only four years later than the famous Yanta stele inscribed by the renowned Chu Suiliang. Monks at the Zhaoti Monastery must have trusted Wang Xingmang to transcribe the same text for Yanshi I n his well esteemed compendium that records numerous rubbings from famous steles Liang Zh angju describes Yanshi as expressed in a genial manner. The structure is profound and solid. Indeed, it can contend with Dengshan [the style name of Chu Suiliang] 105 Liang s compariso n of the Yanshi inscription with Master Chu s calligraphy raised the esteem of this Yanshi version, and drew much attention to this lesser known artist and his work. From a section of rubbing (see fig. 1 6 ) taken from the Yanshi stele, one can discern a n even but agile and fl u ent brush movement, and the character structures are clear and regular. The overall effect of the Yanshi from his early 102 Shi Z hecun, Tangbei baixuan 82. 103 See Wang Chang, Jinshi cuibian 49.24b, in Shike shiliao xinbian 2. 836 ; Liang Zhangju Tuian suozang jinshishuhuabawei, in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 9.1011b ; Sun Xingyan Huanyu fangbei lu 3.6, in Shike shiliao xinbian 26.19880 ; Qian Daxin Qianyan tang jinshi wen bawe i 4.15, i n Shike shi liao xinbian 25.18784 104 Liang Zhangju Tuian suozang jinshi shuhua bawei, in Zhongguo shuhua quanshu 9.1011b 105 Ibid.
121 work, such as Meng fashi bei (see fig. 9 ), but Wang interprets it with maturity and fluidit y. From this rubbing, one may assume that Wang Xingmang was confident enough not only to imitate Chu, but also, to some degree to challenge the old master. Given the fact the Yanshi Monastery primary intent inf orming its creation was to promote Buddhism. However, the choice of duplicating the form as well as the content of the well known Yanta stele was most likely due to the beauty and value of its calligraphy The monks from the Zhaoti Temple erected the Y ansh i stele fairly quickly after the Yanta had been established, presumably to capitalize on some of the calligraphy. While the Tongzhou stele was produced primarily to bring honor to the town, the Yanshi s tele was made to glorify the monastery. But all three steles demonstrate how calligraphic script could distribute aesthetic, religious, and political value simultaneously, albeit in different inflections.
122 CHAPTER 5 BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES AND DUNHUANG MANUSCRIPTS In addition to Buddhist steles, Buddhist scriptures transcribed on paper or silk offer another format that allows us to trace how calligraphy flourished during the Tang dynasty. These scriptures contributed to the development of calligraphy pe rhaps even more than the dedicated steles. 1 Believing that the act of copying or commissioning the transcription of a sutra was a pious deed that garnered religious merit, Buddhists produc ed a colossal amount of Buddhist scriptures. These scriptures are tr easured as original sources for the study of both calligraphy and Buddhism as they not only contain the text s of sacred writings, but also feature calligraphy as the technical and aesthetic form for relaying this content. T hese handwritten materials from the Tang and pre Tang periods were not available until the dawn of the twentieth century After they were discovered in Dunhuang Cave 17 they offered a new perspective that changed the framework of calligraphy scholarship Dunhuang, a thriving Buddhist co mmunity, was located near an oasis on the Silk Road that linked China to Central Asia. It flourished from about the fourth to thirteenth centuries but went into decline in the fourteenth century H undreds of caves dedicated as shines or for other uses by the resident Buddhist clergy were completely closed at some point in the eleventh century. It was not until the early twentieth century that the cave s w ere rediscovered. 2 In Cave 17 tens of thousands of manuscripts were revealed ; a majority w as Buddhist sacred texts produced primary dur in g the Tang dynasty 1 39. 2 492 decorated caves remain to this day.
123 The vast number o f manuscripts from Dunhuang illustrate s the extraordinary accomplishment s of sutra copyist s, whose work altered the status of calligraphy, shifting it from a primarily elite practice to one in which a broader constituency of the population could participate. Although this shift in demographics was, for the most part, in history dismissed by critics and elite collectors, many of these discovered handwritten copies exhibit qualities fou nd in the work of elite masters, a phenomenon that has fascinated and amazed modern scholars, collectors and critics of calligraphy alike. 3 This chapter examines selected Dunhuang manuscripts in order to re construct the dynamic relationship between the st yle of elite masters and that of the less er known sutra copyists. It a lso discusses the translation and transcription of Buddhist scripture s from a retrospective point of view with the focus on the rapid growth of reproduction during the Sui and Tang dynas ties, and interactions between the imperial court sponsorship, monastic institutions and devoted private patrons. Historical Development of Buddhist Scriptures B u ddhist scriptures and related texts were first introduced into China in the first century during the late Han dynasty. After that t he proliferation and popularization of Buddhism paralleled the growth of sutra translation and copying, especially during the Six D ynasties. By the Sui and Tang dynasty, Buddhist manuscripts copies had become ubi quitous. Early D evelopment of T ranslation and the T ranscription of Buddhist S criptures Buddhist scriptures were brought to China by the first Indian missionaries, whose names from the late fifth century onward are given as Dharmaratna (fl. mid first 3
124 ce (fl. 67) It was for them according to tradition, that the Han Emperor Ming (r. 58 75) built the first monastery, Baima si ( White Horse Monastery) in the viscounty of Luoyang 4 In 67 a t least five Buddhist scriptures wer e translated by Dharmaratna into Chinese but only one Sutra in Forty two Sections has survived, and it is now commonly regarded as the first Buddhist scripture in the Chinese language 5 The number of translated and transcribed Buddhis t scriptures greatly increased during the following centuries. In the third century, the famous court scholar Xun X u (231 283) compiled the imperial catalogue of the Western Jin dynasty (256 316) which included sixteen sc rolls of Buddhist works 6 Durin g the politically chaotic period of the fourth to sixth centuries, the cultured public turned their attention toward Buddhism. Devoted laymen would stay in monasteries for various periods of time, some even for years, during which they assisted in the tran slation of scriptures or to copying of sutra s 7 Important achievements in Buddhism were made under the Chinese rama (312 385) and Huiyuan (334 416) and the K u chean Buddhist monk (344 409/413). 4 Erik Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China 22 5 Gao seng chuan compiled by Hui Jiao, 3. Sutra in Forty two Sections consists of approximately 2,000 characters divide d into 42 independent sections. See also Erik Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China 29 30. 6 Daoxuan Guanghong ming ji 3.17b 18b ; Xun Xu s b iography is in Jin shu 39 .1152.. 7 Erik Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China I 75.
125 8 century. 9 Huiyuan, a north as well as Jiankang ( ) as a combination of a religious centre and a collective hide away for Buddhist minded literati. 10 This group of Buddhist literati included Zong Bing (375 443), a scholar also known as one of the greatest painters and calligraphers of his time, and Wang Qizhi a member of the Wang clan from Langye, who were prolific producers of calligraphy. 11 Their mutual encounters and manifold interactions demonstrate that Buddhism was cultivated by adapting to local cultural norms. During this confluence of Buddhism s adaption to Chinese cultural milieu, Buddhists developed and linked doctrines, practices, and artistic expressions with native Chinese elements, which resulted in a wide and favorable reception of Buddhi sm in China. Meanwhile, as Buddhism permeated various aspects of Chinese society and culture, it enriched Chinese civilization. 12 The growth of Buddhism in China rapidly progressed w as Chinese traditions, which served to firmly establish Buddhism as a major presence and force in Chinese religious life. Many of the translated 8 For the development o g entry Buddhism The Buddhist Conquest of China I.5 10 9 Ibid., I .202 04. 10 Ibid., 217 11 Ibid., 218 19. 12 Mario Poceski, Introducing Chinese Religions 114.
126 use terminology culled from Chinese thought, particularly Daoism. 13 V imalak rti Sutra is a good example, and has played an important role in promoting Buddhism among the cultured gentry as it contains both remarkable litera ry qualities and highly philosophical ideas that are soothing for Chinese ( further discussed o n section of E arly examples in this chapter ) Between the beginning of the third and the middle of the seventh century the V imalak rti Sutra was translated int o Chinese seven times. 14 A popular version was A Kuchean monk and scholar, arrived in scriptures and treaties, including several prominent ones such as V imalak rti S utra Amit bha sutra Diamon d Sutra and Lotus Sutra Due to the superb readability of his translation style, his works were extremely popular. In the fifth century, Seng y ou (445 518) of the Liang dynasty (502 533) compiled one of the earliest Buddh ist catalogues Catalogue contain s 2,162 works in 4,328 sc rolls, 15 Zongli zhongjing mulu (Catalogue of Buddhist Scriptures). 16 Seng y ou was also the author of a famous compendium, Hongming ji in which he analyze d the theories of Buddhist literature that were known in China from the early Han to Liang. The Liang scholar Ruan Xianxu (497 536) compiled a comprehensive catalogue entitled Seven Records which listed as many as 2,410 Buddhist writings a nd 13 Ibid., 121 22. 14 Erik Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China I .50. 15 Yao Mingda, Zhongguo muluxue shi 260. 16 Erik Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China I. 30.
127 425 Daoist works. 17 Ruan Xianxu was also known as a paleographer. His writing, Wenzi jilue ( Collected Anthology on Characters ), is listed with other important calligraphy treatises i n t he A nnal of Art and Literature of Xin Tang shu ( Tang shu yiwen z hi ). 18 The dramatic increase in Buddhist texts may also be attributed to the invention of paper in the late Han period. 19 Writing on paper was easier than using bulky bamboo, costly silk or wooden slips, and it became the dominant medium for transcrib ing texts. The major impetus behind the rapid growth of transcribed Buddhist texts, however, was a combination of factors: strong imperial court sponsorship, ard ent monastic support, and enthusiastic patronage from devotees. This phenomenon occurred duri ng the Six Dynasties but became more dynamic and systematic throughout the Sui and Tang dynasties. D evelopment during the Sui and Tang D ynasties During the reign of Emperor Wen (r. 581 604) of the Sui dynasty particular events furthered the establishment of Buddhism, including the restoration and preservation of Buddhist texts that had suffered during a long period of political disruption and severe persecutions of Buddhists by the Northern Emperors. 20 In the year 581, the first year after he took the throne, Emperor Wen issued a decree calling 17 Daoxuan Guanghong ming ji 3.17b 18b. 18 XTS 57.1448. 19 Tsien Tsuen hsuin Written on Bamboo and Silk 145 20 Two large Buddhist persecutions occurred during the Northern Dynasties; one in 446 454 excuted by Emperor Taiwu of the N. Wei and another in 574 577 by Emperor Wu of the N. Zhou. For the Buddhist activities during the period of division, see Mario Poceski, Introducing Chinese Religions 130 31.
128 for the copying of all Buddhist scriptures. They were to be deposited in the temples of large cities and specially prepared cop ies were commissioned for the I mperial L ibrary. 21 Also under imperial sponsorship, Fei Changfang (fl. 561 597) compiled the most comprehensive and earliest bibliography of Buddhism in 597; it lists 2,146 works in 6,235 scrolls. 22 According to the seventh century Buddhist text Fayuan zhulin more than 130,000 scrolls were transcribed during the reig n of Emperor Wen alone. 23 Both the Sui Emperor Wen and his son Emperor Yang (r. 605 617) were dedicated Buddhists and vigorously promoted the transcription of Buddhist literature. Monk Yancong (557 610), active during the reigns of both emperors, w as an influential figure who supported the mass production of Buddhist literature during the Sui dynasty. 24 In 602, the second year of Renshou era of Emperor Wen, Yancong compiled a Zhong jing mulu ( Catalog of Miscellineous Scriptures ) which catego rized scriptures according to how they were translated, including direct translation, re translated work s and translated but with problems. The policy of promoting Buddhism was continued in the court of Emperor Yang. In 606, he ordered the establishment of a Bureau of Translation of Buddhist Texts ( Fanjing guan ) at the Daxingshan Monastery ( ) 25 T he figure in charge of the tasks of translati o n and transcri ption was t he revered monk Yancong At 21 Sui shu 35 .1055 22 Yao Mingda, Zhongguo muluxue shi 273. 23 T 53. 1019a 23a 24 Yan c b iography in Xu gaoseng zhuan T 50 .436b 39c. Yan c ong is also the author of Xiyu zhuan (Record of the West Land) 25 Sui shu 3 75.
129 the time, t he number of copies of Buddhist texts in private hands was growing rapidly. Copying sutras sutras in private hands were tens and hundred times as many as those of Confucian 26 production of Buddhist l 27 The official Translation Bureau established by Emperor Yang played an important new role in the quantity as well as quality of sutra production. Yancong codified the eight criteria considered necessary in order to be a good copyist, includin through the [ancient] text of Cang [Ji e pian] and [Er] Ya and have calligraphic skill in zhuan shu (seal script ) and li shu 28 Cang Jie Pian ( The Provisions from Cang Jie ), named after the legendary inventor of writing, wa s edited by Li Si, who sought to standardize the small seal script during the Qin dynasty. 29 Containing about 3 300 characters, it is one of the earliest primers designed for students learning to write Chinese characters. Er Ya (Approaching Correctness), th e oldest extant Chinese dictionary to explain words in context, is a pre Qin compilation of glosses to classical texts. The fact that copyists were required to read these texts suggests that the study of calligraphy was not merely a hands on practice but official script rather than on other calligraphy forms may indicate that the writing of 26 Sui shu 35 .1055. , 27 Tsien Tsuen hsuin Written on B amboo and Silk 18. 28 T 50 .439a. 29 See section on Early Writing System, in C hapter 2.
130 religious text demanded a great deal of accuracy and regularity, which are the main characteristics of both seal and official scripts. After the late Han era however, the form of official script underwent a process of evolution. By the Sui dynasty the distinctive characteristics of the original official script, which featured sweep ing horizontal strokes with sharp tips gradually disappeared and were replaced by a new way of rendering strokes with more stable construction and homogeneous tone of brush movement This particular way of ev oking more natural and fluent brushstrokes resulted in a new form that was later known as standard script. A prototype of standard script l ikai or kaili a combination of official and standard scripts was a popular script used for stele inscriptions during the Sui dynasty. I n his Yushi (Words from the Stones), Ye Changchi (1849 1917) calls our attention to these inscriptions on the S ui steles because they exhibit the synthesized form of calligraphic styles inherited from the preceding dynasties that was to become a forceful insp i r a tion to the Tang and later periods 30 Xia ozhuan and bafen gradually evolved in to kaili w hich was a result of artful skill and strength. 31 This reform is derived from divine intelligence, yet does not deviate from the traditonal 32 The Yushi chronicles the development of stele over two thousand years, 30 Yushi is a literary document of stele inscriptions collected from the pre Qin to Qing periods. 31 B afen is a term to describe a type of form (script) used in the Ha n dynasty, and considered as one taking either most part of old seal script or most part of new official script during the Han dynasty. Through out the history of Chinese calligraphy, this term has been interpreted in many ways by art critics. In general, it is associated with the old official script with more squarish structureand even linear brush strokes. Details see Qi Gong Gudai ziti lungao 28 32. 32 Ye Changchi, Yushi 1.7 in Shanghai shudian (1986) ed., 11 : , ,
131 recording the format and content of inscriptions, the calligraphic style s engraving technique s and collectors of important rubbings as well as anecdotes about many famous steles. that the Sui dynasty played in the histo ry of the development of Chinese calligraphy. An understanding of calligraphy in both historical and theoretical terms has always been a prerequisite for those who are pursuing proficiency in the art. In the Han dynasty, both teaching and learning ca lligraphy was a private matter, but one highly encouraged by the government. 33 By the fourth and fifth centuries, during the time of the Jin, the government became more involved and hired teaching Erudites who were highly proficient in calligraphy. 34 By the time the Sui unified the country the court was shuxue ) was established and a number o f teaching faculty and students regulated its function and growth. 35 Other than transcribing record s for the court, the members of the School also participated in governmental decisions regarding the transcription of Buddhist literature. Examples from fascicle four of the Siyi jing dated 588 and fascicle eight of the Zhonganhan jing dated 602, will b e discussed in detail later in this chapter In their pursuance of social prosperity and cultural brilliance, the early Tang court continued the ideological policy of the Sui, which included the promotion of calligraphy as well as the support of Buddhism Tang emperors reached out to the new Buddhist 33 Wang Guowei, Guangtang jilin 4.7, in Beijing Zhonghua Shuju ( 1999 ) ed., 179 ... , , 34 Biography of Xun Xu is in Jin shu 39 .1152: , 35 Sui shu 28.777 : , , ..
132 monasteries 36 and performed many public displays of Buddhist devotion and acts of piety at court. 37 level of development during the Tang dynas ty, 38 which created a great demand for the production of sutra transcriptions. In addition to support from the court, two other forces synchronized to facilitate the mass transcription of sutras: earnest promotion of calligraphy practice by Buddhist institu tions and strong interest in creating sutra copies by laymen and patrons. The dissemination of Buddhist scriptures depended entirely on hand copied productions, b efore the invention and use of printing technique s for mass distribution of religious texts in the eighth and ninth centuries 39 In fact, the demand for mass production of Buddhist literature was the motivating force that encouraged printing. 40 However, d ue to the perishable nature of silk and paper, handwritten Tang and pre Tang materials became ext remely rare. For modern scholars, the study of early 36 dynasty, and mostly by the early emperors, see THY 48.843 55. 37 Such as sutra chanting, lectures on scripture, and masses for the dead, see Stanley Weinstein, 38 I n addition to the three early e stablished and more philosophical schools, the Tiantai the Faxiang and the Huayan there were others, such as the Sanjie (Three Stages), the Jingtu (Pure Land), the and the Mi (Esteric) See Stanley Weinstein, 306 39 The printed Buddhist text can be traced as early as in the era of Empress Wu (696 704) For more details, see T.H. Barrett, The Woman Who Discovered Printing 85 128. Discussion on t he earliest extant dated (868) blockprint fr agment the frontispiece to (Jingang jing ) see Mote and Chu, Calligraphy and the East Asian Book 66 67, fig. 35. 40 Tsien Tsuen hsuin. Written on Bamboo and Silk 205.
133 calligraphy was rather arduous until the discovery of manuscripts in the remote Dunhuang Cave at the beginning of the twentieth century. 41 Dunhuang Manuscripts Dunhuang I mportant Buddhist S ite As menti oned at the beginning of this chapter, Dunhuang was a Buddhist community active from the fourth to the fourteenth centuries Throughout much of its history, Dunhuang was dominated by m onastic establishments. During the Tang dynasty, trade along the Silk R oad was flourish ing and Dunhuang was an imperially governed prefecture. Dayun Longxing and Kaiyuan were large Buddhist monasteries in Dunhuang that were established under Tang imperial mandate. Buddhist monks and lay adherents travelled througho ut the region, bringing scriptures from India or travelling to India in search of new texts. Original texts in Sanskrit or Prakrit were often sent by local governments to the Tang court, where translators and whole teams of copyists, proofreaders, and edit ors made accurate translations by court order. C opies of the newly translated Buddhist scriptures and transcriptions were then disseminated f rom the two u oyang, to Dunhuang 42 The story of Dunhuang and its collection of manuscripts including their placement is full of lacunae. 43 Cave 17, the only cave containing stored manuscripts, was probably first discovered sometime 41 The exact year and time of the rediscovery of Dunhuang treasures are still under l ingering dispute; see Susan Whitfield ed., Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 9 42 Rong Xinjian, Dunhuangxue shibajiang 222. 43 Susan Whitfield ed., Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 3: One legend tells that in 366 a monk came upon a low, long riverine cl iff, named Mogao to excavate a remote mediation cave. In the decades following the Dunhuang rulers and populace, there were more caves built, some for meditation, and more as small chapels. When caravan traffic ceased sometimes in the fourteen century, Dunhuang culture d eclined and some caves were completely closed.
134 between the year of 1 899 to 1900 by a Daoist monk named Wan g Yuanlu 44 He presented several manuscripts and printings from the cave to local officials, but the majority of inscriptions r emained in sit u largely undisturbed It was not until 1907 08 when Hungarian archaeologist Marc Aurel Stein ( a British national at th e time) and French sinologist Paul Pelliot conducted expeditions in the area, that the entire cave was open ed and tens of thousands of manuscripts were removed Dunhuang Ma nuscripts C ollections The 40,000 plus manuscripts discovered from Dunhuang Cave 17 are datable to the fourth to eleventh century, with a few believed to be from as early as the third century. 45 They appear in a number of languages Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, Kuchean, and Sanskrit, among others and contain various subjects both religious a nd secular Many documents reflect the colorful political situation and economic condition s of Dunhuang during th is period However the majority of manuscripts are transcribed Buddist sutras ; there are also some Daoist manuscripts, Confucian classics, cop ies of masterpieces for calligraphy model books, and stone rubbings of well known stele 44 Susan Whitfield, ed. Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 4: The cave numbers are given in the twentieth century by the Dunhuang Academy. Cave 17 was a small cave leading off the right hand side to Cave 16 entran ce corridor, a largish cave about halfway along the cliff on ground level, was used at one point by Monk Hongbian the head of the Buddhists in this region, who had probably been instrumental there. Cave 17 was surmised to have been built after his death as a memorial chapel. A statue of Hongbian was placed against the main wall there. 45 A fragment of Piyu jing ( Parable sutra ) with a signed date of the third year of Ganlu ( Ganlu sannian ) is now in the Calligraphy Museum in Tokyo, Japan Ganlu sanian CaoWei ( i.e. 256 ) or that of QianQin ( i.e. 359 ). Another fragment, Daode jin g (Laozi), copied by S uo Dan (ca. 250 325), dated to the year 270, now deposited at the Art Museum of Princeton University for more information see Robert E. Jr. Harris and Wen C. Fong. The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. E lliott Collection 90, see also Frederick W. Mote and Hung lam Chu, Calligraphy and the East Asian Book 55 57; William Boltz disputes its date, see 15. The latest dated ma nuscript from Dunhuang cave is a copy of the Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom dated 1002.
135 inscriptions. The y have become the most valuable resource for studies of culture, including its religion s and calligraph ic practice s. A few Dunhuang manu scripts were available p rior to the first major expedition and excavation. 46 Mark Aurel Stein, influenced by these early writings on Dunhuang, launched his famous expedition, 47 which was later followed by Paul Pelliot. 48 It was hen the entran ceway was opened, a cache of t e ns of thousands of manuscripts, documents and paintings was discovered, stacked from floor to ceiling 49 Stein and Pelliot removed thousands of manuscripts, which are now amassed in the Dunhaung Collection in the British Libr ary and the Bibliothque Nationale de France. 50 Throughout the twentieth century, the Dunhuang manuscripts have been collected and made available for study around the world. In addition to the London and Paris holdings, Dunhuang materials are collected in many other museums and libraries including the National Library in Beijing, the Shanghai Museum, the Liaoning Provincial Museum, the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, The National Museum of India in New Delhi, the Royal Library in Copenhagen, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University the Library of Congress in Washinton, D C the Gest Library at Princeton University, the 46 The first two reports , Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 66 4 (Dec. 1897), 213 260 and Asia, Part I Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 68, I (1899), 1 110 and 53 Both reports were written by A.F.R. Hoernle, a respected scholar of Indo A ryan languages Sources from Susan Whitfield ed. Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 5 n s 4 and 5. 47 Details see Susan Whitfield ed. Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 5 8. 48 Ibid., 9. 49 Ibid. 50 In the British Library, each Dunhuang manuscript (a long scroll, a leaf, or a fragment) is considered an indivi In the Bibliothque listed before the item number.
136 Freer Gallery of Art in Smithsonian Institution and so on. A systematic inventory of the manuscripts did not occur when they were firs t discovered, and even now the total number can be only estimated at 40,000 to 50,000 pieces. Some of the pieces are fragment s but many are in complete scroll or leaf book format It is estimated that about 36,000 Dunhuang manuscripts were written in Chin ese 51 They are precious and crucial sources for the stud y of medieval China Through an international collaboration, the images of many manuscripts, paintings, and artefacts from Dunhuang are digitized and available for online search. 52 Dunhuang manuscript s occupy an interesting position among other discoveries Susan Whitfield makes such a comment, neither wholly akin to works of art 53 Early scholarship focused primarily on the study of the manuscripts as text s but due to the fact that they are often sacred texts, researchers are sometimes inspired to touch the document 54 Perhaps it was this ineffable sense of awe that inspired scholars to study the objects them selves including t he material, the size, and ultimately the characters written on them Selected Examples The following are a few selected examples of Dunhuang manuscripts arranged by chronological order. T hey briefly illustrate a historical trajector y of Buddhist manuscripts as they developed from as early as the fourth century to the Tang dynasty Each 51 Jiao Mingchen Dunhuang xiejuan shufa yanjiu 2 and n. 2. 52 The International Dunhuang Project: the Silk Road online website: http://idp.bl.uk/ 53 Susan Whitfield, ed. Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 12. 54 Ibid.
137 scripture manifest s certain specific characteristics that illustrate issues of calligraphic quality and format. Early e xamples (1) V imalak rti Sutra dated 393 ( the fifth year of Linjia of the L ate Liang ) 55 One of the very earliest hand copied sutras unearthed from Dunhuang is a section of the V imalak rti Sutra signed by Wang Xianggao and dated 393 (fig. 21) 56 Although the discovery is a frag ment, it contains more than 6,500 legible characters. The date on the manuscript indicates that Mr. Wang was a contemporary of I t is possible that translated version of the V im alak rti Sutra Mr. Wang modestly wrote at the end of the colophon : writing is] heedless and clumsy; whoever reads this, please do not laugh at me and demonstrates the transitional form structure of official script to the early standard script. The brush lines are sometimes modulated with sweeping horizontal strokes that end in sharp tips, but the inner strength of the brushwork is evenly distributed and defines each character with balanced structure and a slightly elongated shape. This bold yet somewhat elegant style characterizes the calligraphic development during this period. was not always on perfecting each individual stroke, but rather achieving legibility and a 55 Linjia was the year title of Taizu (Lu Guang ) of the Late L iang (386 404), one of 16 kingdoms during the Division Period. T erritory of the Late Liang includes Dunhuang area. S ee Jin shu 121.3053 64 for the biography of Lu Guang 56 It is now housed in the Shanghai Museum.
138 sense of dynamic equilibrium. This copy of V imalak rti Sutra reveal s such features that calligraphic proficiency was probably on his mi nd. Even though not all sutra copyists were skillful calligraphers, their intention and effort to pursue the best quality of calligraphy was often evident. (2) Ten discourses of Being Initiated into Monkhood dated 405 ( the first year of Jianchu of th e Western Lian g ) 57 A fifth century handwritten Buddhist sutra can be discerned from another Dunhuang discovery piece, the Ten discourses of Being Initiated into Monkhood which was signed by a mendicant Buddhist monk Deyou in 405 (fig. 22). 58 The characters in the Ten discourses were composed with more even brushstrokes than V imalak rti Sutra and significantly reduced t he sharply tipped and exaggeratedly sweeping horizontal strokes. These changes in rendering brushstrokes and structure e xemplif to standard script and spurn away from official script. The colophon of the Ten Discourse contains a humble remark by the copyist about hand, and for those who are reading this sutra, please appreciate its meaning, do not laugh at the calligraphy above, but these ap pologetic notes may not simply indicat e a desire for the p ardon of a copyists un polished skills. In addition to the possibility that it suggests a rhetorical expression common at that time, this passage may reveal the importance of quality in 57 Jianchu was the year title of King of Wuzhao ( ) of the Western Liang (405 423). Prefectures around Dunhuang area endorsed Li X uansheng as King of Wuzhao in 405. Jin shu 10.253 ; see Jin shu 87.2270, for biography of Li X uansheng 58 It is now housed i n the British Library (S.0797).
139 the task of sutra copying. For the copyist and reader alike, a transcr ibed sutra conveys vindication may very well indicate that the standard for the best calligraphy was already established, and the notion that meaning (texts) and form (ca lligraphy) were equally important was deeply imbedded in the mind of a copyist. Examples from the Sui dynasty (1) Fascicle four of the Siyi jing ( ) dated 588 ( the eighth year Kaihuang era of Emperor Wen of the Sui dynasty ) Fascicle four of the Siyi jing (fig. 23) 59 was written in 588 early in the reign of Wendi, the first Emperor of the Sui At the end of the scroll a twenty word colo phon Monk Huikuang in the Prefecture Yuanzhou of Zhengding C ounty 60 Although the name of the person who actually penned this sutra is not recorded, the colophon suggests that the reproduction was the result of a cooperative effort between government and monastery. Monk Huikuang proofread the text to assure accuracy, while the quality of the transcribed calligraphy was validated by a high court official in the Chancellery whose position was closely affiliated with the School of Calligraphy. 61 It is evident that sutra reproduction began to be regulated by the government Siyi jing ] was speci 59 It is now housed in the British Library (S.4020). 60 61 School of Calligraphy was under official designation of Court for Education ( Guozi si ), headed by Chan cellor, chosen from among its staff of Cavalier Attenants in ordinary ( Sanqi changshi ) see Charles Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China 130 (#542), 299 (#3542), 300 (#3546)
140 62 While the duty of the monasteries was apparently to insure the accuracy of texts, the government was most likely responsible for maintinaing a standard of calligraphi c format and quality. The colophon of the Siyi jing also states that the transcription was made at the request of Cui the wife of the Prince Qin 63 in order to acquire the blessings of the Buddha for all beings on earth. It is not surprising that th is particular piece was discovered in Dunhuang since Prince Qin s territory included the Gansu corridor S ponsored by the imperial family, this copy exhibits extreme neatness and regularity, and the calligraphy is superb in quality. Exactly 17 characters are placed in each column, spaced as if they were written with grids but without any trace of lines. The call igraphy on this sutra, which surpasses many other Dunhuang manuscripts of its time demonstrates the high standard of quality required by the Sui c ourt It was written with fluent and elegant standard script. The strokes are energetic yet graceful expansive and sprawling in structure. This spontan eity of expression anticipates s tyles developed later by the early Tang calligraphy master Chu Suiliang and the high Tang master Yan Zhenqing. ( 2 ) Fascicle eight of the Zhongahan jing ( ) dated 602 ( the second year of Renshou era of Emperor Wen of the Sui ) Fascicle eight of Zhongahan jing (fig. 24) 64 is a nother good example of sutra cop y i ny in the Sui dynasty. Its colophon includes the date and the name of the person 62 Jiang Liangfu, Mo gao ku nianbiao 173. 63 In 582 (t he second year of Kaihuang era), Sui Wendi bestowed his son, Yang Jun with a title of Prince of Qin ; see Sui shu 5.13. 64 It is now housed in the British Library (S 3548).
141 who pe twentieth day in the twelfth month of the second year of [Wendi] Renshou [ 602 ] written by j ingsheng Chang Cai j ingsheng can be translated as the person who transcribes the sutras i.e., s utra copyist. Modern schola 65 A more detailed description of sutra roles a nd styles will be discussed in C hapter 6 The colophon also tells us that this copy of Zhonganhan jing was proofread twice, once by a monk fro m the Daxingshan Temple and again by a monk from the Daji Monastery ( ). Since the Daxingshan Monastery housed the court Translation Bureau, the reproduction of this Zhonganhan jing was probably imperially sponsored. The main body of the scroll consists of 17 characters in each column of neat grid like rows, exactly the same page layout found in the Siyi jing mentioned above. The characters were written in standard script with a compact structure and horizontal strokes that slant slightly upward. The radical snap and sharply hooked strokes, later characteristic of the sta ndard script of the Tang dynasty, distinguish this sutra. Examples from the Tang dynasty The vast majority of the Dunhuang manuscripts were generated during the Tang dynasty. This section highlights some of the examples that astounded the world of calli Lanting xu Zhiyong Zhencao Qianziwen (Thousand characters in the forms of standard script and cursive script), a rubbing from the stele of Wenquan ming inscribed 65 Amy McNair uses the term, Texts of Taoism and Buddhi sm and the Power of Calligraphic Style Calligraphy and the East Asian Book.
142 by Emperor Taizong, 66 a nd a rubbing from Huadu si bei penned by an early Tang master Ouyang Xun. 67 These works are not all Buddhist texts, but their existence attests to the fact that calligraphy practice was highly regarded in Dunhuang. These discoveries also provide valuable evidence of cultural exchanges between the Tang court and rural areas such as Dunhuang. In order to emphasize the important role Buddhism played in this interaction, I include a Buddhist treatise the Api tan pi posha lun which was reproduced during Gaozong capable of producing. ( 1 ) Lanting xu Currently the Bibliothque Nationale de France holds four fragments of practice copies of Wa Lanting xu and the British Library holds two. 68 These copies of Lanting discovered in Dunhuang offer evidence for the wide distribution of Lanting copies and the success of Ta i e discoveries also correspond to some literary statements about the distribution of Lanting copies. He Yanzhi ( fl. 722 ) and Wu Pingyi (fl. 684 741) t ell us that Lang t ing xu was greatly cherished by Taizong, who kept the original and ordered the court copyists to make more copies for distribut ion 69 For more than a thousand years, art historians have questioned the authenticity of works attributed to 66 See also the section on Taizong in C hapter 3. 67 See also the section on Formation of Tang Court Culture in C h apter 3. 68 Items, held in the Bibliothque Nationale de France are: P.2622v, P.3194v, P.2544, and P.4764 ; in the British Library are S.1601 and S 1619 69 Tang He Yanzhi Lanting ji (Notes on the Orchid Pavilion) in FSYL 3.130 ; Tang Wu Pingyi Xu shi shuf a ji ( in FSYL 3. 114.
143 Wang Xizhi due to the fact that most of them were the Song or later copies. The Dunhuang practice pieces are valuable as they present the handwriting of Tang people. Even though they do not approximate the quality of M they do give an immediate sense of an early Tang calligraph y practition Both fragments of La nting now housed in the Bibliothque Nationale de France, ( P.3194 fig. 2 5 a, and P.2622 fig. 2 5 b ), show three lines with about twenty characters from the very beginning of the text (original Lanting has 28 lines, 324 characters). These practice pieces were written on the versos of other documents. Re using documents as practice paper might have been the result of a shortage of supp lies in Dunhuang at the time 70 For instance, at the end of the colophon on one manuscript (S.2925) was hard to obtain paper and ink 71 The recto of one Lanting practice ( P 2622 ) is Jixong shuyi (Book on Auspices and Omens), and the recto of the other ( P 3194 ) is a section from Lunyu jijie (Annotative Notes of the Analects of Confucius) on which the date was giv en as thirteenth year of [Emperor Xuanzong] Dazhong (i.e. 859). It is assumed that this practice Lanting copy was completed sometime later than that date, as the character "qun" from the original was altered to the character " which was the pa ttern used in the mid to late Tang. 72 70 There were periods where the materials were in short supply. In 755 China was plunged into civil war by the rebellion and the emperor recalled all troops posted in the w estern regions to fight the rebels. The Tibetan army had then moved into Central Asia and taken control of the major towns including Dunhuang. The Tibetans ruled there until 848. Although they were driven out by a Chinese loyalist, after this, the control and supply to Dunhuang from central China had never been sufficient, especially after the Tang dynasty fell in 907. See Susan Whitfield, ed. Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 3 4. 71 See Susan Whitfield, ed. Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 20 n. 2. 72 See She n Leping Dunhuang shufa zo nglun 114.
144 By the time this Lanting practice piece appeared in the mid ninth century i t had been two hundred years since Taizong ordered copies of Lanting P resumably many more copies were made through different hands and distri buted widely. Identifying which version of Lanting was used as a model for the Dunhuang copyists is difficult. Modern scholar Shen Leping version of Lanting 73 was used as the model for the practice (see fig. 25a) that appears on the verso of Lunyu jijie He bases his opinion on the relatively late date of the work. In my eyes, this rustic practice work is far Lanting The leisur ly style d and graceful fluent strokes that characterize the running script of the Shenlong Lanting ( see fig. 3 ) do not exist in this practice piece. What does appear clearly, howeve r, are the less expressive, austere, and rigid strokes The writings on these mid to later Tang practice pieces may very well reflect a trend of writing style that existed at that time. Another practice piece of Lanting (fig. 26 ) 74 contains the complete te xt but with quite a few mistakes. After cop y ing the entire text once, t he practitioner intended to repeat it but stopped after a few characters. Again, the quality of the calligraphy appears mediocre. This inferior handwriting by no means reflects any of the original qualities of other short practice pieces listed above reveals the calligrapher s proficienc y with regard to regularity and symmetry of brushstrokes and 73 Lanting xu It was attributed to Feng Chengsu, one of the court 709) whose first two ye ars of reign is named Shenlong therefore, this copy of Lianting xu is named Shenlong version. 74 Now it is in the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P 2544 )
145 character structure. Cheng Ruzhong attributes this piece to the hand of a Jingsheng (sutra copyist), 75 to whom practice calligraphy was most likely a daily routine. Throughout the centuries, the Lanting xu and its reproduced versions 76 have been passed down through famous hands and imperia l collections. From the prolific number of Lanting copies found in Dunhuang it is reasonable to speculate that copies of Wang were widely disseminated, and the calligraphy tradition based on Wang Xizhi style was often used as a pract ice model by those who were preparing themselves to be good sutra copiers. ( 2 ) Z hiyong Zhencao Qianziwen copied by Jiang Shanjin A frequently discussed and highly acclaimed calligraphy piece from Dunhuang is the Zhiyong Zhencao Qianziwen (fig. 2 7a ), 77 wh ich was signed by Jiang Shanjin with date and a statement to annotate his work hand copy of Zhiyong s t housand character composition in sta ndard and cursive script s i n the seventh month of the fifteenth year of the Zhenguan era [i.e. 641 ] The tone of the note and the high quality of calligraphy leads us to believe that Jiang intended to produce a copy for other calligraphy practitioners to model with. This fragment contains the last 34 lines of Qianziwen (thousand character composition) where 170 characters are written in standard and cursive scripts. The original Qianziwen was written by Monk Zhiyong, who was a seventh generation descendant of Wang Xizhi and was active in the sixth century. According to 75 76 There are six authentic handwritten versions of Lanting xu and dozens of versions in the form of rubbings based directly or indirectly on one of the handwritten copies; for more details see Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy 22 23 77 Now it is in the Bibliothque Nationale de France (P 3561).
146 a Tang literary reference, Zhi yong spent thirty years writing the thousand characters in the forms of both standard and cursive scripts. Eight hundred copies were made and distributed to the temples around the east Chejiang prefecture, and the copies that survived into the Tang era wer e worth tens of thousands of qian (Chinese monetary unit). 78 Qianziwen can be found in various collections. 79 Modern scholar Rao Zongyi made a comparison between Jiang hand copy Qianziwen from Dunhuang an d that of a distinguished Ogawa ( ) version. 80 sharper, concluding on a complimentary note brilliant and lustrous ink color is indeed an unrivalled gem. [I] fondled it again and again, 81 Undoubtedly Jiang's copy has been one of the most praised manuscripts of the Dunhuang cache Another Dunhuang calligraphy specialist Jiao Mingcheng has intention to establish the canonical status of Jiang's calligraphy. That intention is c onvey ed in this statement : Jiang Shanjin stands out beyond any work of his contemporaries. Even the Emperor of Taizong and three early Tang court calligraphy masters wo uld be inferior to him 82 78 Tang He Yanzhi Lanting ji in FSYL 3. 125. 79 For d etails see Facang Dunhuang shuyuan jinghua, complied by Jao Tsung I, 1.265 80 Shuji mingpin congkan 72. 81 Facang Dunhuang shufa congkan, complied by Jao Tsung I, 1.265 in Chinese 82 Jiao Mingchen Dunhuang xiejuan shufa yanjiu 132.
147 accomplished calligrapher residing in Dunhuang and his superb execution of calligraphy presumably became models for others. A few characters penned by later copyists appear in what was originally a blank space, as [Gaozong] Shangyuan [ 675 ] Jiang's celebrated free hand copy of Qianziwen was used by others for practicing calligrap hy (fig. 2 7 b) Qianzhiwen in Dunhuang attests to the success of Emperor Taizong's promotion o f style Jiang's copy confirms t he tradition and the fact that it extended far beyond the court Proficient calligraphy became fashionable in this Buddhist community, and competent calligraphers, like Jiang Shanjin, became the work force employed to reproduce large numbers of Buddhist sutras. A nicely transcribed sutra could then be used as a model for more copies and further distribution. This continuous circulation between models and copies in part contributed to the democratization of calligraphy during the Tang ( 3 ) Rubbing from the stele of Wenquan ming The stele of Wenquan ming was erected in 648 near Mountain Li (Lishan ) 83 where Taizong often visited. Fond of the sweet warm water spring there, Taizong wanted to monumentalize the site by establishing a stele with inscription s of his own composition and transcription. 84 Unfortunately, the original stone has long been lost and rubbings from it were even rare during the Song dynasty. The only trace of its existence 83 Mountain Li is a branch of the north side of Qinling about 25 kilometers east of Xi an. It s shaped like a horse, therefore named Lishan which is particularl y famous of spewing hot spring, beautiful sencery and diverse. 84 Cefu yuangu i : jiao ding ban 113.1234: ,
148 was found in the literary reference until a fragment rubbing was discovered in Dunhuang When this fragment came to light, it was highly celebrated by modern scholars who were study ing Wenquan ming Now held in the Bibliothque Nationale de France (P 4508 ) this fragment of the Wenquan ming rubbing (see fig. 5 full view, fig. 28 detail with date) is in the form of a hand scroll mounted on sheets of pa per. It con sists of the last paragraph which contains fifty lines of inscription with seven to eight characters in each line At the end of the rubbing is a line of 14 characters written in running script, thirti eth day in the eighth month of the fourth year of [Guozong] Yonghui era [ 653 ] by Weigu fu Guoyi 85 These erection. This explains why the brushstrokes appear crisp and penetrating. The conditions in the cave also contributed to the well preserved sha rpness of the ink stone. This Dunhuang piece is treasured for at least two of its qualities. First, it is a great U p to now the only extant stone that was traceable to Taizong s brushwork wa s the stele of the Jinci ming (Inscription of Jin Temple ) located in the city of Taiyuan. The stone was deteriorated, but was the sole source of authentic Taizong calligraphy (see fig. 4) until Wenquan ming was exposed to the world Second, the inscri ption of Wenquan ming represents fifty one 85 a p refecture, was first established in the S. Liang and ree stablished in the Sui dynasty, and later became subordinate to the Region of Bian (Bian Zhou ); now is the city of Kaifeng Guoyi was a Tang military official title Assault resisting Garrison. (source from Facang Dunhuang shu yuan jinghua complied by Jao Tsung i 1.260 )
149 years old a year later before his death The characters, written in the form of running L anting Xu but at the same time they polished brush strokes Wenquan ming wind that flows through an embracing snow with power that seems bestowed from the 86 The brushstrokes illustrate a much higher degree of expressiveness than those in Taizong s another well known but earler work, Jinci ming (646), and the character structures demonst rate greater flexibility which vividly reflects Mounted as a long scroll (23x154 cm.), the Wenquan ming rubbing was probably acquired and treasured by a local art collector. However, it may also have been used as a model for calligraphy practice. On the blank space towards the bottom of the Wenquan ming rubbing one can discern a few characters written to imitate the original. ) on line 46 (see fig. 26) was deliberately copied with extre mely fluent strokes and the keen structure of the original. The discovery of the Wenquan ming rubbing in Dunhuang and its use as a calligraphy model offer more evidence for the far reaching influence of the Tang court in its effort to promote calligraphy, ( 4 ) Rubbing from the Huadu si bei Another important finding from Dunhuang was the rubbing of the Huadusi stele originally sited at the Huadu Monastery in the Zhongnan m ountain ridge about 86 Facang Dunhuang shu yuan jinghua complied by Jao Tsung i ,
150 fifteen miles from Zhenquan era (631) to commemorate the establishment of Huadu Monastery where the relics of the Chan Master Yong were stored. The text was compose d by a well known Tang poet and historian, Li Baiyao (565 648), who applauded the merits of Master Yong as well as Buddhist doctrines and meditations. The early Tang calligraphy master Ouyang Xun transcribed the text in the form of standard script wit h a total of 35 rows with 33 characters on each row. The calligraphy in this inscription would represent the master s most mature work, as i t was written when the artist was seventy four. The stele was reported lost sometime in the Song dynasty and the o riginal rubbings have not been available since then M any replicas however, had been made and received high remarks. For instance Wang Shizhen (1526 1590) credited Ouyang Xun for his initial effort to transform the earlier Jin style, i.e., Wang Xizhi s style, to the Tang standard script and praised his calligraphy was compelling, as its square structure held in a tension of opposition render ed harmonious through the smooth and round nature of the brushstrokes. 87 Despite the numerous compliments the late date of these rubbings raised suspicions among scholars, who continue to question their authenticity. With the discovery of the Tang rubbing from the Huadu stele, scholars finally have access to a rubbing made very close to the time when the stele was erected. This was a gem long It 87 Wang Shizhen, Yanzhou shanren xu gao 166.22, in Mingren wenji congkan, I. 22.7627: : [ ] ,
151 Zhenyu (1866 1940). 88 Modern scholar Shen Leping specialized in Dunhuang manuscripts comments on the Dunhuang Huadu, not only echo ing Wang Shizhen s on the compelling brush, but conclud ing that Ouyang s characters represents the best form of [Tang] standard script. 89 A careful examination of the characters on this rubbing reveals a strong possibility that the st ele from which the Dunhuang Huadu rubbing was made during the Taizong s reign C laims of authenticity, other than the superiority of the calligraphy, are based on the observation that certain forbidden characters during the reigns of Gaozong and Zhongzong (705 709) appear on th e Huadu rubbing 90 For instance the character ( shi ) was completely prohibited in Gaozong s era out of respect for his father Taizong whose given name was Shimin D uring Taizong s era however, was allowed if it was not used along with the character 91 Containing the character the rubb ing of the Dunhuang Huadue must have been made from a stone carved before Gaozong presumably from the original transcribed during the era of Taizong. Another character, hong ), 92 is also a clue for an earlier dating, as it was a forbidden character dur ing the reign of Emperor Zhongzong (705 709) and th ere is no sign of it having been 88 Facan g Dunhuang shu yuan jinghua complied by Jao Tsung i 1.26 2. 89 Shen Leping, Dunhuang shufa zong lun 118: < > 90 Mentioned in Shen Leping Dunhuang shufa zo nglun 122. 91 When Emperor Gaozong succeeded his father Taizong, he ordered both characters shi and min to be absolutely 92 rother named Li Hong In respect to his brother, Zhongzong ordered, during his reign, prohibite t he use of the character hong ) ), Prefecture Hongjing changed to Anjing etc.
152 removed or hidden in the Dunhuang rubbing. C onsidered the most authentic rubbing of all that remain, the Huadu enables scholars to study and compare it with other versions of Huadu such as a Song rubbing from the Tang stone, a Song rubbing from a Song replica stone, or any other combination. The fragment of the Dunhuang Huadu rubbing is composed of twelve pages. The first two pages, which contain the title of the stele, ar e now in the Bibliothque Nationale de France (fig. 2 9 ) 93 and the rest are in the British Library. 94 The height of each page is about 10.6 cm, containing five characters in each column and four columns on each page. T he use of loose leaf paper was not yet p opular and it only began to appear in the Tang dynasty. 95 M aking rubbings on loose pages (leaves), as the Huadu demonstrates became a scheme designed to produce calligraphy model books. In this case from Dunhuang, one can presume that sutra copyists could have used Huadu rubbing as a model to enhance their skill on writing with a style of the standard script promoted by the Tang court. Although the content of the Huadu was probably the further inspi ration for a devoted sutra copyist. The standard script in the Huadu exhibits Ouyang s precise strokes and masterfully robust structure that characterized the later stage of his career Th is kind of powerful and compelling presentation was undoubtedly a fa vored choice for sutra copyists, script writing occupied an important position in the history of Chinese calligraphy. 93 P 4 510. 94 S 5791. 95 Cheng Dachang, Yan fan lu 73 : ,
153 ( 5 ) Copies of inscription from the Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripitaka of the Great Tang Dynasty A t lea st two fragments from the Dunhuang discoveries are possible the copies of t he famous Yanta shengjiao xu and they both now are housed in the Bibliothque Nationale de France 96 The brushstrokes and character structure appear ed on the item of P 2780 ( see fig 17) resemble the work of Chu Suiliang. Written in typical Tang kai each stroke is rendered gracefully and with care, though the brushwork in th is later copy appears less swift and less powerful. In addition, the structure of characters seems more squar ish than those found in the original inscription of Yanta transcribed by Chu Suiliang (see figs. 10a and 10b). This copy is undated but it can be firmly identified as a product of the period when Empress Wu or Wu Zetian was ruling the country in the la st two decades of the seventh century During her regime, she made an attempt to reform some traditional Chinese written characters. T he altered character ( on line second o f fig. 17) on this (guo), which is a clue to the proper dating By the time this Dunhuang copy was produced, many different versions of Shengjiao xu had been produced ; therefore, it is difficult to define which version might be the model. In fact, we cannot assume this copy was for sure mode led from a stone rubbing. After Taizong composed the text, he urged to place his writing as the preface to the translated treatise by Xuanzang and ordered many copies to be made and distribute d all over the country. 97 Therefore, the possibility arises that the copyist simply transcribed the text from one of the distr i buted text s which could have been transcribed by any 96 P 2780 and P 3127 97 Da Tang Da Ci e n si Sanzang fashi zhuan 141 42 ; also in Biography of the Tripitaka Master 195 96.
154 calligrapher/ copyist from the Tang court. Although it is difficult to de termin e the original source of this Dunhuang fragment based on the copy undoubtedly reveals the Tang court style of standard script either a hand of court copyist or master Chu Suiliang The other fragment ( P.3127 ) also reflects a matured Tang kai style. The dexterous th e form of running script. 98 It is possibil e that the copyist had encountered the rubbing taken from other version of Shengjiao xu the Ji Wang which was inscribed with characters written mo stly in the form of running script. Again, to assume the Ji Wang wa s the model of this discovered fragment is a speculation. What we can be certain is that the works done in the capital of Chang an were widely disseminated throughout the Dunhuang area Meanwhile Buddhists diligently copied and disseminated the edifying t exts of Buddhism. In the process, the skilled practice of calligraphy was promoted with copies containing Buddhist text, and their dissemination ultimately contributed to the spread of Buddhism. ( 6 ) T he Api tan pipo sha l un Several fascicles from the Api tan pipo sha l un were known among the Dunhuang discoveries, for the illustrious calligraphy. They were transcribed by Shen Hong an Longshuo era (662) At present, t h e se fascicles are scattered across various museums libraries, and individual collections. Fascicle sixty is held in the Calligraphy Museum at 98 Wo Xinghua Dunhuang s hufa y i shu 31
155 Tokyo ( fig. 3 0a ), fascicle fifty two in the Bibliothque Nationale de France (fig. 30b), 99 and fascicle fifty one in the hands of a private collector, Liu Youyuan 100 Each of them is written in the format of a hand scroll. Both Tokyo and Paris scrolls contain colophons stating that the copies were made to garner merit. They read, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the second year of Emperor Gaozhu Longshuo era [ 662 ] a high official, the Tang Right Guard in Chief and Duke of State E We ichi Baolin 101 came to the Yunji shan Monastery ( ) and acquired cop ies of the Api tan made in order to garner the blessings from Buddha for the Emperor, Empress, seven generation of parents, and all beings on the earth 102 Weichi Baolin s request was not uncommon in Buddhist practice, since ac quiring bliss can be multiplied when one transfers the merit of such actions to parents or other beings Shen Hong signed his name underneath the title, jingsheng (sutra copyist ). He was probably trained and h ired by the Monastery. The skill of h is calligraphy was highly praised by modern specialists who have encountered the scrolls Referring to the beauty of the scroll in Paris, Rao Zongyi writes, The calligraphic style of the scroll is impeccable. The dots and the strokes, the movement and the pause, are rendered in a 99 P 2056. 100 Mentioned i n Tonko shoho sokan compiled by Jao Tsung i 23.49. 101 Weichi Baolin was the Son of Weichi Jingde a distinguished military general who served Emperor Yang of the Sui dynasty, Emperor s Gaozu, and Taizong of the Tang. s biography is in XT S 89.3752 55. was appointed the chief minister of the Court of the Imperial Regalia ( Weiweiqing ) see XTS 201.5733. 102 Recorded from the c olophon s on the scroll s
156 beautiful and lively way, like pearls dancing on a jade plate. It is a work that stands out as the calligraphy model for all sutra copyists for the early Tang dynasty. 103 Another modern art his torian, Zhu Guantian s Api tan as 104 work is further celebrated by Jiao Mingchen, who describes it as vigorous but appealing, smooth and hearted, graceful and splendid, his style is full of pleasure, and characters are formed in proper angles but the brushstrokes are round 105 In terms of stylistic characteristics, description s of Shen Hong s calligraphy reflect the style of the early Tang masters Ouyang Xun and Yu Shinan. Phrase to describe 106 and that to a latent firmne ss seasoned by flexibility, 107 are close to description s of Representing the excellence of production from early Tang s can be interpreted as a consequence of imitating the elite styles of h is day. Regardless of ed prestige to their own writing hence t he growth of the sutra copying style paralleled with that of elite calligraphy masters. T he Dunhuang manuscripts are valuable resources 103 Tonko shoho sokan compiled by Jao Tsung i 23.49. 104 Zhu Guantian, Zhongguo shufa shi [v. 4]: Sui Tang Wudai juan 212 105 Jiao Mingchen, Dunhuang xiejuan shufa yanjiu 134 106 See above, n. 87 107 Zhang Huaiguan, Shudua n in LDSF 192: [ ]
157 from which we may constru ct a dynamic relationship between the styles of the celebrated masters and those who were less er known or anonymous.
158 CHAPTER 6 BUDDHIST SUTRA COPYISTS AND SUTRA COPYING STYLE Buddhist monks and lay devotees as well as the Tang court clerk calligraph ers all participated in and contributed to the accomplishments of sutra transcription. Benefiting from the calligraphy education promoted by the government and supported by the monasteries during the Tang dynasty, many sutra copyists were proficient callig raphers. This chapter discusses the distinctive qualities of these sutra copyists, and categorizes them into three major groups: Buddhist monks, privately hired sutra copyists, and government employed calligraphers. Selected examples are used to illustrate the distinguishing characteristics of each of these group s The demand for copyists and sutra reproductions during the Tang dynasty was increasingly persistent and widespread. In the Buddhist religion, the act of transcribing sutras or hiring others to c opy sutras is a religious endeavor undertaken to garner merit or acquire the blessings of the Buddha. The practice of copying the sacred texts requires carefully articulated brushstrokes to ensure legibility and beauty, but to meet th e demand s for quality and quantity simultaneously, a balance must be achieved. As a writing/ This chapter investigates this particular style in terms of its historical development, particularly how it came to be influenced b y the Tang court s political agendas which sought to regulate calligraphic practices by instituting a standardized script, the Tang kai Sutra Copyists Among the enormous number of copied sutras, some were written anonymously, but many of them stated wit information tell s us that sutra copying activities were engaged in by three main groups: Buddhist monks,
159 privately hired sutra copyists ( jingsheng ), and government employed clerk calligraphers ( kaishu [shou] [ ] or shushou ). Buddhist M onks as S utra C opyists Many monks transcrib ing sutras is relevant to learning and pursuing their religion but more importantly sutra transcription was a devotional and pious act. In many occasions, a t the end of a sc roll the monk who transcribed the sutra often signed his name and the date. For instance, the colophon of an early Tang sutra Foming jin now in the Dunhuang Collection at the Beijing Library ( 83) seventh day of the fifth mon th in the year of Gengyin [i.e. 630 or 690] by monk Shi Baochang 1 In many cases monks identified themselves with their affiliated wrote at Xiuduo Monastery in the Prefecture of Gan appears on th e colophon of a copy of Foshuo shanxin pusa ershisi jiejing now in the Beijing Library ( 48). 2 The Tang poet Cen Shen (715 passionate enthusiasm for translating and transcribing Buddhist sutras, Master Zhang r arely comes out the [Chuguo] monastery, 3 And dwelling in deep seclusion; He professes the desire to transcribe all Buddhist sutras, That exceed s tens of thousands of 4 1 Wang Yuanjun, Tangren shufa yu wenhua 128. 2 Ibid. 3 THY 48.845: Chuguo monastery in Jinchang district was a ruined Xingdao monastery in the Sui dynasty. Tang Gaozu inaugurated Chuguo monastery to honor his deceased fifth son, Zhiyun who was killed in capital when Gaozu raised his revolt in Taiyuan. 4 Cen Shen Shiji biannian jianzhu compiled by Liu Kaiyang ,
160 Master Zhang was one of th e numerous enthusiastic monks who diligently transc ribed sutras. During the Tang dynasty, Buddhist monasteries performed functions which were closely aligned with the imperial state. While the Tang government worked tirelessly to promote institutional growth and cultural enrichment, the Buddhist monasterie s shared the responsibility of educating laymen as well as the clerg y P romot ing calligraphy education and train ing sutra copyists was part of the monasteries alignment with imperial policy, which advocated calligraphy as a high ly valuable aesthetic and c ultural activity as discussed in above chapters Although the amount of texts produced by the Buddhist monks is relatively small when compared with the prodigious number of transcribed sutras, those produced are meticulously and excellently crafted. W ell trained i n calligraphic skills, monks undertook the task of copying sutras with a mentality somewhat different from that of hired sutra copyists. L ess pressure d for time, monks focused on quality instead. This is evident in the transcribed section of the B uddhist text Sifenlu shanbusuiji jiemuo now in the Beijing Library ( 46). T he colophon carefully penned by Monk Liji during the year of Wu (?), from the eight h day of the fifth month to the third day of the sixth month to commemorate a new gold lamp erected at the Jinguangming Temple 5 Supported by the monastery, Liji could afford to spend a month transcribing one sutra which result ed in a n accurate text, excellent calligraphy, and an overall high quality of production 5 Wo Xinghua Dunhuang s hufa 3.
161 Independent S utra C opyists Numerous sutra cop yists were laymen trained at Buddhist monasteries. As they became more proficient, they were routinely employed or commissioned by monasteries or private devotees. An individual sutra copyist was known as x iejing sheng or j ingsheng person who copies su tras for a living. Sutra copyists often signed their names preceded by the title j ingsheng on the colophon at the end of a scroll. There were many jingsheng such as Shen Hong mentioned earlier ( in C hapter 5 ) and Wang Han Guo De Peng Kai and W ang Siqian whose names appeared in many copied sutras discovered at Dunhuang. 6 Calligraphy t raining of the jingsheng To become a proficient sutra copyist necessitated extended training One of the best and probably the most common way of calligraphy t raining was to practice with good models The highly acclaimed court s codified standard script was the best and possible the only choice for model selection during the early Tang era Many Dunhuang discovered fragments are evident of this notion As dis cussed in the last chapter, a free hand copy of Shengjiao xu (see fig. 1 7 ) suggests that calligraphy was probably used as a model and J free hand copy of Zhiyong Zhencao Qianziwen was also a calligraphy model ( see fig. 2 7 a and 2 7 b ). 7 Examples abound. A well executed calligraphy of Qishi jing 8 replicates the admirable calligraphy from Epigraph of Zhang H an (later known as model book of Zhang Han) penned by 6 For more detail s see Lin Congming Dunhuang wenshu xue 160 6 5. 7 See section on Examples from the Tang dynasty in C hapter 5. 8 Now in Shanghai Museum Dunhuang Collection.
162 Ouyang Xun. 9 These examples offer us clues to trace the basis of call igraphy training at that time. Besides diligent practice, to write as well as the masters was most likely the ultimate goal for becoming a proficient copyist. Dunhuang fragments also inform us about some of the details of calligraphy exercises. A practice piece illustrates one routine drill scheme that required 200 also noted 10 The piece of practice work w as done on the verso of an offic ial document, Shi Huihu Liangsi die 11 dated the eighth year of Gaozong Tianbao era (749). 12 In general, the Tang government kept document s on file s for about nine years and after that the back side of the paper could be used for calligraphy practi ce or sutra copying. 13 A shortage of supplies such as paper probably contributed to the need to use both sides of the paper. During the Tianbao era the central government was and the security in Dunhuang was constantly challenged by neighboring countries including Tibet and the Arab Empire 14 Th is use of limited resources to maintain calligraphy practice may reflect a strong commitment to calligraphy practice in the Dunhuang area. Even during the economic downturn, calligraphy education was continued 9 Bai Qianshen Yugu weitu he juanjuan fawu 61, and fig s 97 and 98. 10 Wo Xinghua Dunhuang Shufa 2 11 Now in the British Library (S 2703). 12 Ibid. 13 See also Rong Xinjian Dunhuangxue shibajiang 310. 14 See C hapter 5 n. 7 0
163 Some times a proficient j ingsheng became a monk, residing in the monastery and devoting his life to sutra copying. For instance m onk Zhiming was originally a j ingsheng named Cheng Ting His name was recorded on the colophon of a Buddhist text, Chanshu za shi xia dated 593. 15 Later he became a distinguished monk and h is life was recorded in the Biographies of Eminent Monks compiled by Daoxuan (596 667). 16 Zhiming is only one example among the many individuals who converted from being a Jingsheng to a monk and presumably continued copying sutra diligently. Collaboration between m onasteries and Tang c ourt Even well trained copyists often labored under a heavy demand for sutra copies, a pressure which could easily compromise their performance. In or der to maintain the quality of calligraphy, the early Tang court institutionalized sutra transcribing. In the Transcription ( Xiejingsuo ), 17 which oversaw all sutra copying activities. The high officials Yu Chang (fl. 660 680) and Yan Xuandao (fl. 660 680) were appointed to be in charge of the bureau Yu Chang was the son of court calligraphy masterer Yu Shinan, and Yan Xuandao wa s a nephew of the well known artist Yan Liben (? 673) and high official Yan Lide (? 656). 18 The name s of Yu 15 Zhu Guantian Zhongguo shufa shi [v. 4]: Sui Tang Wudai juan 212. 16 T 2060. 682c 83a. 17 Zhou Gan Tangdai shushou yanjiu 90. 18 Information on Yu Chang, s on of Yu Shin an, see XTS 102.3973 ; Yan Xuandao was possible the nephew of Yan Lide whose biography is in JTS 77.2679 in which it states his son named Yan Xuansui (xuan) was a character designated to the given name of that generation in the Yan family. See T onko shoho sokan compiled by Jao Tsung i, 23.50.
164 Chang and Yan Xuandao appear on various copied sutra with the title J ianjiao jiang (Inspecting Censor), which means they acted as special c ommissioner s to overlook the process of sutra copying and to ensure the overall quality of sutra reproduction s A copy of fascicle three of the Lotus Sutra dated 672 lists Yu Chang as the c ommissioner and a copy of the last section of the Diamond Su tra dated 676 lists Yan Xuandao as the c ommissioner. 19 Presumably these government special commissioners were regulating the form and aesthetic quality of sutra production, while the monasteries were responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the text s a s many monks were listed as editors and proofreaders on the copied sutras. C ollaboration between the government and the major monasteries responsible for sutra transcription was forged in the early Tang period Many extant Dunhuang manuscripts attest to this p rocess and tell us about the labor force involved in the task. An example is presented in the following section. Jingsheng Wang Siqian and his copy of the Lotus Sutra A copy of f ascicle six of the Lotus Sutra (fig. 31), dated 672 is a good example of t he well organized production of sutra administered by the government and monaster ies. 20 At the end of the scroll, a long colophon of several columns demonstrates this formula ic system. The first column includes the date and the name of the sutra copyis t, jingsheng Wang Siqian The next column tells us that twenty 19 The Lotus Sutra now is in the Bibliothque Nationale de France (P 2 644 ) ; the Diamond Sutra is in the Bibliothque Nationale de France (P 3278 ) ; see Dunhuang shufa congkan compiled by Jao Tsung i 23. 4 9 50. 20 The copy is now housed in the Dunhuang County Museum ( 55 )
165 pages of sheets were used. The third column lists the name of the mounter ( zhuanghuang shou ), Jie Shanji The fourth column records the name of the first proofreader which is the sutra copyist himself. The names of the second proofreader, the m onk Guizhen and the third proofreader, the m onk Sidao are stated in the fifth and sixth column s The next four columns name four high ranked monks from Taiyuan Monastery ( ), including the great worthy Shen fu ( ) the great worthy Jiashang ( ) the a bbot Huili ( ) and the high seat Daocheng ( ) who were examiners. The last two columns show the involvement of two imperial government officials: the project supervisor Xiang Yigan who was also the Administrative Assistant and Chamberlain for the Foundry Office ( ), and the specially appointed commissioner, Yu Chang the S uperior Grand Master of the Palace ( ) and Duke of the Dynasty founding Yongxin District 21 It was routine to have monks proofread the sutras transcribed by j ingsheng as jingsheng were not necessarily conversant with the doctrines of Buddhism. To maintain absolute accuracy the transcribed sutras had to be proofread by ordinary monk(s) then examined and finally approved by higher ranked monks. Those who examined Wang : Shengfu, Jiashang, and Daocheng. They were recognized as disciples of the eminent Monk Xuanzang and were well respected. 22 Their names appeared as the examiners on at least seven Dunhuang 21 Yu Shinan, was then succeeded by the son. S ee XTS 102.3973 22 Wang Yuanjun Tangren shufa yu wenhua 132
166 manuscripts now held in the British Library 23 The court official Xiang Yigan, an officer from the Foundry, was probably in charge of the supplies for the task. Yu Chang represent ed the government insuring that the work was completed according to established rules and standards. The characters penned by Wang Siqian exhibit a n elegance of style and fluency similar 24 Although very little is known about Mr. Wang, one source mention s that he was a student of Yu Shinan. 25 The fluent mature strokes and precisely rendered structure of the character s are well represented in Wang Siqian s works which have often been considered exemplary of the beauty of Buddhist manuscripts from Dunhunag. E xamining Wang Siqian often used to describe the character of 26 his meticulous stroke and flawless construction of each character. In my opinion th is particular quality is not completely captured in s, which occasionally display some imprudent brushstrokes and recklessly composed characters. This kind of comparison however, is not entirely fair andwriting perished long ago, the only examples we have are rubbings from a stele. The transcription of Yu s calligraphy onto the stele demanded precision and accuracy, while transcription of sutra was performed under the pressures of speed and effi ciency. 23 The items including, S 1 456, S 257 3, S 2637, S 2956, S 3079, and S 3094 ; see Wang Yuanjun Tangren shufa yu wenhu 132 24 Apitan piposha lun in section Examples from the Tang dynasty in C hapter 5. 25 Zhou Gan, Tangdai shushou yanjiu 90. See also Amy McNair, Texts of Taoism and Buddhism and the Power of Calligraphic Style 230. 26 Ouyang Zhongshi and Wen C. Fong Chinese Calligraphy 201.
167 incessant demand for sutra copies, which can be traced from the dates that appeared on colophons at the end of the scrolls Fascicle six of the Lotus Sutra transcr ibed by Wand Siqian is dated the twenty first day of the second month in the second year of Gaozong Xianheng era (672). Four days later, Wang Siqian transcribed fascicle two of the Lotus Sutra 27 Ten days after that he completed the transcription of fascicle three. 28 It is possible that there were some other fascicle s written in between these dates that have bee n lost. Working u nder such co nstant demand one can understand the need for strict and painstaking rules and regulations to enforce the quality of production. The exhaustive process of governing and approving the copied sutras became a necessity because t hese copies were most likely used as model s to be imitated for further reproduction in the prefectures 29 This effort to keep texts accurate while retaining a high standard of legibility and aesthetic form w as beneficial for increasing the value and spurr ing the development of both Buddhism and calligraphy. Jingsheng c ompensation The quickness with which the work was done indicates that sutra copyists were probably paid by the number of pieces produced. One manuscript 30 describes how the 27 Lin Congming Dunhuang wenshu xue 161 twenty fifth day of the second month in the secon d year of Gaozong Xianheng era now housed in the Bibliothque Nationale de France (P 4556). 28 seventh day of the third month in the year of Gaozong Xianheng era written by Wang Bibliothque Nationale de France (P 2644). 29 Wang Yuanjun Tangren shufa yu wenhua 130. See also Amy McNair, Texts of Taoism and Buddhism and the Power of Calligraphic Style 230 30 N ow it is in the Bibliothqu e Nationale de France (P 2912)
168 scribes were comp Dabanruo jing is paid for three silver plates (total thirty five ounce liang ), one hundred picul s (shi ) of wheat fifty piculs of millet four catties of flour P aper and ink are supplied by the 31 C onvert ed to the Tang currency, this compensation equal s about three hundred wen (i.e., the smallest monetary unit at that time) which compares favorably with the one hundred forty wen per month salary paid to lower temporary government employees. 32 T he pay scale of an individual copyist was not fixed and ve ry much depended on the reputation of the scribe. L ess skilled scribes would likely be paid less suggested by a poem written at the end of a manuscript 33 : [I] will be getting five pint ( sheng ) of wheat. Better not get into t he high i nterest debt s otherwise at the end [I myself ] would suffer the dreadful consequence 34 Assuming that calligraphic skill was a major factor in determining a copyist s compensation, we could speculate that the potential for increased compensation, when coupled with the demand for sutra copies, may very well have inspired copyists to hone their skills Court E mployed C lerk C alligraphers The government employed calligraphers to perform the task of sutra copying in addition to their other official duties, such as government record keeping. Many Tang 31 Zhou Gan Tangdai shushou yanjiu 73. See also Wang Yuanjun Tangren shufa yu wenhua ( ) 32 XTS 55.1369. 33 It is dated 919, and now housed in the collection of the Brit ish Library (S 692). 34 Wang Yuanjun Tangren shufa yu wenhua 135 : Chinese measureme nt : 1 sheng = 1 liter.
169 Dunhuang manuscripts were si gned with kaishu kaishu shou or shushou 35 titles that refered to the clerk calligraphers who were sub official functionaries under the Tang on calligraphic merit were selected by various government agents to assist in the extensive and growing tasks of record keeping and copying. 36 Although not officially ranked, they could be promoted after a pe riod of meritorious service. 37 The official documents of the Tang dynasty, including Jiu Tangshu and Xin Tangshu Tang Huiyao and Tang Liudian ( Codes and Regulations of the Six Boards of the Tang D ynasty ) list ed the number of clerk calligraphers employe d in each government agency but do not clearly indicate who or how many of them actually participated in copying sutras. The dynamic activities of clerk calligraphers engaged in the work of sutra copying are found in information provided on the colophons at the end of transcribed sutras from Dunhuang It may be pre sumed that many of these clerk calligraphers were trained at the Institute for the Advancement of Literature ( Hongwen guan ) or were the students of School of Calligraphy ( Shuxue ). 38 Adept at rend ering the standard script Tang kai the clerk calligraphers played an important role in promoting the style of Tang kai as th e copied sutras were often disseminated to the prefectures as models for further production. 39 35 Charles O. Hucker in his A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China defines kaishu and kaishu shou 36 XTS 45.1180. 37 THY 65.1125, 64.1116. 38 Amy Mc Nair, Texts of Taoism and Buddhism and the Power of Calligraphic Style 230 39 Ibid., see also Wang Yuanjun Tangren shufa yu wenhua 128 32.
170 Government a ffiliations Many Du nhuang manuscripts reveal a routine that a government employed calligrapher usually signed the date on which the transcription was completed, proceeded by his title, name, and governmental affiliation on the colophons at the end of the scrolls. The followi ng are some examples from the British Library Dunhuang Collection. Fascicle five of the Lotus Sutra ( thirteenth day of the fifth month in the third year of [Gaozong] Shan g yuan era (676), [it was] transcribed by a clerk calligrapher Sun g Xuanxi ( ) of the Imperial Library ( Bishu sheng Fascicle seven of the Lotus Sutra twenty first day of the third month in the third year of [Gaozong] Shan g yuan (676), [it was] transcribed by a clerk calligrapher Wang Zhiwan ( ) of the Institute for the Advanced Literature ( Hongwen guan Fascicle six of the Lotus Sutra twenty fifth day of the ninth month in the first year of [Gaozong] Shan g yuan (674), [it was] transcribed by a clerk calligrapher Xia o Jing ( ) from the Secretariat of the Heir Apparent ( Zuochun fang ). The above examples indicate that some clerk calligraphers who were hired by the Tang government were actually participating in the task of sutra transcription. The governm ent agencies include predominant ones, such as the Imperial Library and the Institute for the Advancement of Literature, and minor or subordinate agencies, such as the Secretariat of the Heir Apparent. The numbers of calligraphers hired by various govern ment agencies and their jurisdictions range from as few as two to as large as eighty Examining many official document s I discover that the number and titles of calligraphers assigned to the affiliated agencies are recorded inconsistently in various hist orical documents. For instance, Jiu Tang shu notes that thirty kaishu shou were assigned to Hongwen guan
171 (Institute for the Advancement of Literature), 40 while the Xin Tang shu states twelve kaishu to Hongwen guan 41 Jiu Tang shu says that twenty five kaishu shou were assigned to Shiguan (The Historiography Institute) 42 while the Xin Tang shu records Shiguan has twelve kaishu and eighteen kaishu shou 43 Pishu sheng ( Imperial Library) hired the largest number of clerk calligraphers, eighty kaishu shou states i n Jiu Tang shu but only ten kaishu in Xin Tang shu. 44 Many subordinate agencies were also staffed with clerk calligraphers. The Editorial Service ( Zhuzuo ju ) under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Library had five kaishu 45 T he Eastern Palace ( Donggong ), residence of the Heir Apparent, had twenty five kaishu in the Editorial Service ( Sijing ju ). 46 The Institute for the Veneration of Literature ( Chongwen guan ), a subordinate to the Secretariat of the Heir Apparent ( Zuochun fang ), had ten kaishu 47 The Bureau of As tronomy ( Sitian tai ), a subordinate to the Palace Library ( Mishu sheng ), had five 40 JTS 43.1848 : Hongwen guang is subordinate agent to the Chancellery ( Menxia sheng ) 41 XTS 47.1210. 42 JTS 43.1853 : Shiguan is subordinate to the Palace Secretariat ( Zhongshu sheng ) 43 XTS 47.1214. 44 JTS 43.1855 ; XTS 47.1214. 45 XTS 47.1215. 46 Ibid., 49.1294. 47 Ibid.
172 kaishushou 48 Even the office of Female Service ( Yeting ju ), a unit of the Palace Domestic Service ( Neishi sheng ), had two kaishu 49 The numbers of employed clerk calligraphers are not always referenced with a given date or time period which means that th e hiring was probably determined by need and varied at different times. It is also not clear whether kaishu and kaishu shou carr ied the same responsibilit ies but were differently titled. Nor do we know with certainty if these kaishu or kaishu shou were assigned the duty of copy ing sutras What we do know from the extant Dunhuang manuscripts, however, is that the government employed calligraphers did participat e in sutra copying and sign ed their official titles and names in the sutras they copied T he se Dunhuang scrolls offer us handwritten Tang documents that also validate and rectify some historical facts. T he three copies of the Lotus Sutra in the British Lib rary Collection listed above, confirm the fact that during the who worked for the Imperial Library, the Institute for the Advancement of Literature, and the Secretariat of the Heir Apparent, were al l engaged in sutra transcription work and carried the title kaishu Official sanction of copied sutras The sutras transcribed by clerk calligraphers were officially sanctioned and complied with the same strict rules and well organized system that o rganized works produced by the j ingsheng Fascicle three of the Lotus Sutra transcribed by the clerk calligrapher Cheng Du ( ) is a good example (fig. 3 2 ) 50 Comprised of sisteen 48 Ibid., 47.121 6. 49 Ibid., 47.1222. 50 It is n ow in the British Lib rary Collection (S 5319 )
173 columns, this sutra begins with the date : the second year of [Ga ozong s ] Xianheng era (i.e. 671), followed by the copyist s name and title : s h ushou Cheng Du. The next two columns tell us that nine teen sheets of paper were used and also gives the name of the mounter : Wang Gong The next six columns record the names of monks as the examiners, and the following two columns provide the names of the inspectors : the abbot Huili and high seat Daochen g of Taiyuan Monastery The next columns list the proofreaders, including two monks from Dazongchi Monastery ( ), and Cheng Du himself. The sutra ends by naming the Tang court officially appointed supervisor, Xiang Yigan, with the official title of Admi nistrative Assistant from the Foundry Office, and the special commissioner, Yu Chang, with the official title of Superior Grand Master of the Palace. The close collaboration between monasteries and the government can be traced from this sutra copied by Ch eng Du and others, such as the Lotus Sutra copied by Wang Siqian (discussed earlier in the section of jingsheng ) Two inspectors from the monastery, Huili and Daocheng, the governmental supervisor Xiang Yigan, and the commissioner Yu Chang are all listed o n the colophon at the end of both Cheng Du s and Wang Siqian s works. The reappearance of these names on copied sutras that were completed by copyists hired either privately by the monasteries or by the government further confirms the close working relatio nship monasteries and government More i nteresting is the fact that on the same sutra Cheng Du signed his title shushou right after the date to identify himself as the person who transcribed the sutra but under the column for those who proofread the stura he endorsed it with the title j ingsheng It is possible that Chen g Du was trained and worked in the monastery as
174 a jingsheng and then was employed by the government as a shushou This situation would probably have been the case for other copyists besides Chen g Du, and sometimes blurred the definition between shushou and j ingsheng Often the quality of production from shushou or jingsheng would be consistent as long as it subscribed to government standards. Despite this painstaking and exhaustive system, the number of copied sutra particularly productive. Using the Lotus Sutra in the British Library Collection as the sole example, within a three year range (67 2 67 4 ) one can iden tify the following: Fascicle fifteenth day of the fourth month in the third year of Xianhong (672) by a Qunshushou Zhao Wenshen Fascicle twenty ninth day of the eighth month in the third year of Xianhong (672) by a qunshushou Liu Daci from Fascicle the seventeenth day of the ninth month in the fourth year of Xianhong (673) by a qu nshushou Feng Anchang twenty first day of the ninth month in the fourth year of Xianhong (673) by a q unshushou Feng Anchang second day of the eighth month in the fifth year of Xianhong (674) by a kaishu Xiao Jing from Secretariat Each scroll above i dentically lists the government appointed official s Xiang Yigan and Yu Chang as the supervisor of the production. As a director of the Bureau of Sutra Transcription, Yu Chang must have been authorized to look after all the copies produced by the clerk call igraphers from various government agencies. From the above
175 examples, one can also see that the Chancellery during the Xianhong era hired many clerk calligraphers and named them qunshushou which can be literally does not recorded in the Tang official histories, such as Xin Tang shu and Jiu Tang shu We can say that Dunhuang manuscripts are providing us with inform ation that was missed from the historical recordes compiled later. The Standard F ormat of C opied S utra s The layout for transcribed sutras was standardized during the Tang. Each sheet of paper, with hidden or visible grids, consisted of twenty eight c olumns with seventeen characters in each column Each character occupied a size of 1.5 cm or 1.8 cm in each column Following this standard, one can easily figure out the exact number of characters required to fill in each page and how many pages of paper were needed to complete a fascicle of any given sutra. 51 The sheets then were collected and mounted as a hand scroll. This standard format imbues the entire composition with a sense of alignment and regularity. The rigid format of seventeen characters in e ach column was adopted before the Tang time and is traceable to the transcribed sutras of the Southern Dynasties. By the Sui dynasty almost all transcribed sutras were executed under the rule of seventeen characters per column Examples can be found in the scroll of fascicle eighteen of the Daji jing dated the third year of the Emperor Wendi s Kaihuang era (583) (fig. 33 ), and the scroll of fascicle four of the Siyi jing dated 588. 52 In these and most other 51 Rong Xinjian Dunhuangxue shibajiang 303; see also Zhou Gan Tangdai shushou yanjiu 90. 52 Both of them are n ow housed in the British Library : Daji jing is coded S 3935 and Siyi jing is S.4020.
176 transcribed sutras from the Tang era the chara cters are tightly spaced from top to bottom in each column with more space left between columns. This arrangement of having more spac e in between columns is probably more comforting for the eyes of readers. At the same time, the characters that occupied t he same column, with the space in between tightened, were written in a more squarish manner that diverged from the normal configuration of standard script, which was vertically elongated. A similar format of seventeen characters i n each column with hi dden or visible grids is commonly used in Japanese sutra scrolls. T he famous Lotus Sutra at Itsukushima Shine (1164), 53 for example, is laid out strictly with seventeen characters i n each column throughout the entire twelve scrolls. This suggests that the influence on Japanese culture was penetrating even on subtle matters like this From the early to the late seventh century, during the years from Taizong s Zhengguan to Gaozong s Xianh ong eras handwritten scriptures in China reached the pinnacle of their development. Government agencies, including the Imperial Library, the Institute for the Advancement of Literature, the Historiography Institute, etc., were, in spite of their routine governmental responsibilities, all involving in the task s of copying sutra supplying materials, making scrolls, and distributing sutras. In addition to retaining copyists, government agencies also hired paper makers ( shuzhi jiang ) and scroll mounting installers ( zhanghuang jian g ). Some 53 The Lotus Sutra at Itsukushim a is a religious text and scrolls were offered by the Taira family as an act of piety and devotion. It represent s the highlight of art and culture of Fujiwara Period (897 1185)
177 agencies would simply hire shuzhi zhanghuang jian g artisans who were good at both paper making and scroll mounting. 54 Due to the demand for paper, the techniques and materials for pape r making rapidly improved in the Sui and Tang dynasties. The paper used during the Sui shifted from the hemp cloth of earlier periods to hemp bark. The creation of finer and thinner paper was mainly due to improvements on the design of paper making screen s No longer made from reeds but rather slender bamboo strips, this improved model increased screen density ; also thereby improving the paper quality In the eighth century, a new type of paper was produced using fine hemp fibers that constructed a thicker paper with refined quality. Th is improvement in quality resulted from another new type of screen m ade with a sheet of fine silk cloth, which smoothed the surface of the paper. This kind of surface allowed for an easier movement of brushstrokes, better ink absorption and ultimately clearer writing. The best preserved sutras were written in the form of Tang kai on the paper made of hemp fiber and yellow die (huangma zhi ) 55 The colophon often indicates how many sheets ( z hang or mei ) were used. The numbers vary, but typically range from twelve or eighteen to twenty plus pages. 56 The scroll mounting installers were responsible for mounting the collected sheets into a well formed scroll. Highly skilled, the installers were considered to be just as 54 In XTS aphy Institu te ( Shiguan ) XTS 47 1214 ten paper makers and ten mount ing installer s in the Imperial Library ( Mishu shen g ) XTS 49 1294 one paper maker and one mount ing installer in the Secretariat of the Heir Apparent ( Zuochun fang ) XTS 47 1210 eight paper maker/mount ing installers in the Institute for the Advance ment of Literature ( Hongwen guan 55 More details on paper making in Dunhuang, see Rong Xinjian Dunhuangxue shibajiang 302 7 ; Lin Congming Dunhuang wenshu xue 89 97 ; Fujieda Akira, onological Classification of Dunhuang Susan Whitfield, ed. Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries, 103 12 ; Jean/Pierre Drege, 6 56 See Lin Congming Du nhuang wenshu xue 97 103 for the actual examples.
178 important as the copyists. The sutras completed under the monasteries and government sanctioned system usually carried a column reserved for the mounting installers ( z hangh uang shou ) which preceded the name s of the copyist s Jie Shanji was one of the distinguished installers active in Gaozong's time. More than twenty discovered Dunhunag scrolls dated to the years of Gaozong s Xianhong (670 673) and Shangyuan (674 675) eras bear his name. 57 The distribution of copies was dictated in t he Codes and Regulations of the Six Boards of the Tang Dynasty Four Series ( Sibu ) 58 must have three copies; the first one is the original, the second one is the duplicate copy, and the third one is the depository c 59 The duplicate copy can be bestowed (or distributed) via imperial order. After it is given away, more copies can be made. It is not clear whether the copying and distribution of Buddhist texts followed the same mandate. But it is reasonable to presum e that all officially sanctioned sutras probably had at least three copies, one for the temple, one to be stored in the court, and one to be distributed to the prefectures. More copies could be made as needed. Many transcribed sutras discovered in the Dunh uang caves were possibly imperially ordered 57 Most scrolls are in the British Library, including S 36, S 513, S 84, S 312, S 456, S 1084, S 1456, S 2637, S 2181, S 3094, S 3348, S 3361, S 4168, S 4353, S 3079, S 2573, S 4209, S 4551. Some in the Bib liothque Nationale de France including P 3278, P 2195, P 2644, P 4556. One scroll in Shanghai Museum: fascicle three of the Lotus Sutra and one in Shanghai Library: fascicle one of the Lotus Sutra Detail see Lin Congming Dunhuang wenshu xue 107 12. 58 The Four Series is traditionally categorized into Classics ( j ing ), History ( shi ) Philosophy ( zi ) and Literary Collections ( ji ). Details ing the Four Series see Tang liu dian 10.298 300. 59 Zhou Gan Tangdai shushou yanjiu 19.
179 copies. There were probably many more copies made and disseminated across the country to be used as models for the production of provincial copies. 60 The quality of provincial copies could l ag behind the high sta ndards required of government distributed models. Yet sometimes a provincial copy demonstrate d an extremely high quality. Fascicle 329 of the S u tra of the Perfection of Wisdom 61 ( dated 674 ) in the Elliott Collection at Princeton, is a good example (fig. 3 4 ). It is assumed to be a provincial copy because the scroll is si gned with only the complete roster of copyists, mount ing installer s, proofreaders supervisors, and commissioner that is typically a feature of standard governmen t al sanctioned sutras 62 The scroll was signed with a name Li Yihai who was probably a collator responsible for checking the accuracy against the original. 63 Although the sutra was copied by an anonymous scribe, it is reasonable to believe that the copyist was required to faithfully reproduce the same style of calligraphy as that which appeared on the government sponsored manuscript produced in the capital. In the mid seventh century, Chu Tang kai script was the most popular and imitated s tyle, and it is not difficult to recognize that the Princeton scroll was executed by imitating his graceful style It is evident that this calligraphy style originated in central metropolitan areas and 60 Texts of Taoism and Buddhism and the Power of Calligraphic Style 230 61 The Great Sutra of the Wisdom That Reaches the Other Shore complete contains 600 fascicles. The Sutra was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Xuanzang in the year of 663. See Harri st, and Fong, ed., The Embodied Image 100 noted by Amy McNair, Great Sutra is a collection of shorter scriptures, including the well known Heart Sutra and Diamond Sutra which prajn 62 Texts of Taoism and Buddhism and the Power of Calligraphic Style 230 63 Ibid.
180 was later adapted by provincial artists as the result sponsorship of sutra copying and distribution. Sutra C opy ing S tyle General A ttribution, V ariations, and Special C haracteristics copying ( x iejing ti ) is a term in calligraphy that generally refers to a form used to transcribe religious texts. It is a fluid style, constantly reflecting the prevailing taste of calligraphic form at any given time. Since most existing sutras and the majority of Dunhuang manuscripts are dated from the sixth to the ninth centuries and are written in the form of standard script that was predominant at that time, standard script has been often associated with the sutra writing style. In his discussion ne 64 Th is notion is supported by Amy McNair, who affirms that standard script was most suitable for religious texts due to it s remarkable consistency 65 The discovered Dunhuang Buddhist manuscripts, however, illustrate the fact that various calligraphy scripts were employed o ver different time periods and that distribution corresponds with the historical evolution of scripts in general. In his essay Fujieda Akira classified the discovered manu scripts by their dates and scripts. 66 64 Frederick W. Mote and H ung lam Chu, Calligraphy and the East Asian Book 52. 65 Amy McNair, Texts of Taoism and Buddhism and the Power of Calli graphic Style 225 38. 66 14.
181 According to Fujieda, around 400 CE a writing style similar to official script ( lishu ) written on bamboo and wooden slips was used by sutra copyists. Around 500 CE manuscripts were written in the form of mixed offici al and standard script ( li shu a nd kai shu ). By the end of the sixth century the script written in the Sui, demonstrated a homogeneous use of the standard script ( kaishu ), while the Tang dynasty the script was transcribed in a new standard form known as Tan g kai A s noted by Fujieda, sutras transcribed in Tang kai displayed not only a new calligraphic style in terms of strokes and form, but also a correct form for characters that were codified by an orthographic movement (z hengzi 67 As Fujieda argues, the long development of sutra writing styles in China reflect s all subsequent stages of calligraphic script evolution. The emphasis on the merit and efficacy of a standard script was further developed in the Ta ng dynasty. The qualities that characterize the style at that time are formality, precision, consistency, and legibility qualities essential to the transcription of religious texts The changes in brush types and improvement in paper quality that made no 68 A softer kind of brush made from goat hair, which had been widely used since the Sui dynasty, allowed a writer to move the brush faster and be more productive. As 67 649), the Director of the Imperial Library, Yan Shigu criticized kai characters as not conforming to the li style which appeared in Shuowen jiezi Several sutra (one being the Diamond Sutra) which were distributed nationwide. There were over 30 copies extant in Dunhuang which exhibit the new forms of characters. It is possible to distinguish therefore between old and new kai styles. The new style is called Tang kai For more details on orthography in the Tang dynasty see Amy McNail, alues in Calligraphy and Orthography in the Tang Dynasty Li Haixia Tangdai de z hengzi yundong and Shi Anchang, Tangdai zhengzi xuegao. 68 11.
182 evidence d in many characters, sutra copyists sometimes displayed a tendency to replace standard strokes with trifling strokes. This meant that their calligraphic presentation diverged from the aesthetic quality approved by the mainstream tradition, and sometimes l ed critics to discredit work produced by sutra copyists. Critical assessments of Buddhist sutra writings, when combined with the reticenc e of Chinese scholars to value the importance of religious texts, has led to a tendency for scholars to question, oft en with contempt, the importance of Buddhist text s in the Chinese tradition of calligraphy. As a consequence, Buddhist sutras written with high quality calligraphy could be ignored simply because they were religious in content. Modern scholars, however, ha ve begun to establish the aesthetic value of handwritten sutras beyond their primary value as religious texts containing sacred revelations. of Wang Xizhi shifts the emphasis from studying the religious importance of these texts to a focus on their aesthetic quality. 69 Susan Whitfield describes her opinion 70 More specifically interpreted as sugges ting that the art of writing and the spiritual nature embodied in the religious text are dynamically intertwined. Among the vast number of transcribed Buddhist texts, some were executed with extraordinary calligraphic skill and were highly praised by later critics. Yang Ting (fl. 690 700), an independent sutra copyist ( jingsheng ), transcribed Wuyun lu 69 Some Taoist elements in the Calligraphy of the Six Dynasties 70 Susan Whitfield, Dunhuang Manuscript Forgeries 12.
183 ( Treatise on the Five Refinements), which was collected by Song Emperor Huizong and recorded in the Xuanhe Calligraphy Catalog as follows : The charac ters produced by [Yang Ting] exemplified the excellence of standard script, and were highly praised among his peer calligraphers during the Changshou era (692 693). The sutra copyists during the Tang time established their own distinctive style. Outstand calligraphy which was considered truly marvelous. 71 The work by Yang Ting vanished long ago, but commentary found in the prestigious Xuanhe Calligraphy Catalog esthetic the Catalog has been repeated by art historians to describe a quality jingsheng copy. There are other sutra scribes whose works were also appreciated and glo rified in Xuanhe shupu such as that of the m onk Tan Lin (? 593): Tan Lin was skilled at writing small script. His strokes were full of strength without even a single trace of casualness. Their regularity and evenness represents the high quality of wor k that sutra copyists were capable producing. He transcribed a section of Jingang shangwei tuoluoni from the Di a mond Sutra which is now in the Imperial Collection [of the Song]. It contains several thousand characters, but its consistency in scale makes it easy to read and read fast Although the calligraphy might appear constrained and lacking a certain loftiness of expression, the visual coherence between the naturalness of the brushstrokes and his spirit truly deserve to be applauded. 72 This l ong phrase, which sings the praises of Tan Lin, illustrates the general criteria for reckoning excellence in sutra copying: skillfully created small script that is full of strength, tidy and consistent. Above all, the script should be consistent to make it easy 71 Xuanhe shupu 5.38: , , , , 72 Ibid., 5.41 : , , , , , ,
184 to r spirit. Stylistic C omparison: C opyists in D ebt to the E lite M asters The extraordinary works by the jingsheng Yang Ting and the m onk Tan Lin are no longer avai lable to us, but remarks about their accomplishments in the Xuanhe Shupu have become classic references for the study of sutra copying style. Modern observations on some extraordinary Dunhuang manuscripts echo the praises on the works by the jings heng Yang Ting and the m onk Tan Lin. J ingshen g Shen Api tan piposha lun is an example which was written in small script with extreme accuracy and consistency (see figs. 28a and 28b ) and was prasised by modern scholars. Complementing Shen Hong s cop y, Rao Zongyi says, It stands out as the 73 Jiao Mingchen appealing, smooth, hearted, graceful and splendid ; he concludes it in the following passage, cu rvilinear. 74 With all the acclaim for becomes imperative to examine his works further By studying the rendering of strokes and the compos i tion of s characters, one can discern his debt to the famous early Tang master Chu Suiliang and calligraphy sage Wang Xizhi. The overall presentation of Shen 73 Tonko shoho sokan compiled by Jao Tsung i 23.49. 74 Jiao Mingch en, Dunhuang xiejuan shufa yanjiu 134.
185 exhibit a flexible pause, extreme rhythm and rich vibranc inscription on the stele of Preface to the Holy Teachings Lanting Xu When individual strokes and characters are examined, the resemblances are even more obvious and often striking. The character xian (fig. 3 5 Api tan bear s an uncanny resemblance in both structure and stroke presentation to the same Lan ting (fig. 3 5 b) and the characters gan (fig. 3 5 c) and huo (fig. 3 5 Yanta Shengjiao xu The left side of the character is feathered with relaxed strokes, while the right side is constructed with an intense and vigorously exaggerated long stroke slanting to the right, finish ed with a distinguishing hook. The effect is accomplished by twisting the brush straight up. This presentation yields a very different result than what one might expect: an elongated stroke ending with an easy incline to the right. An expressive style like this is consistently presented Api tan One can ea sily notice that pattern from characters such as yi wo and zhi (fig. 3 6 a) The same characteristic was evident in Chu s Yanta Shengjiao xu particularly in characters such as zang yi and zai (fig. 3 6 sui mao and sheng (fig. 3 6 c) in Lanting xu Note also that all the ir long vertical strokes begin with the brush tip inclined horizontally in the opposite direction before moving vigorously downward. The inclination was brief and y et strong enough to display a w ell controlled brush tip. Although the exposition was small, by forming a contrasting angle with the long vertical stroke this presentation actually creates an effect of balance and expansive quality, with Api tan was dated to 662, less than ten years after Chu Suiliang inscribed the famous Preface s style was still prominent at this
186 time so it calligraphy were vividly modeled. A simil ar stroke structure was adopted by the productive jingsheng Wang Siqian, a contemporary of Shen Hong. Many fascicles of the Lotus Sutra transcribed by Wang Siqian were among the Dunhuang discoveries mentioned earlier in this chapter. The character s xian zhi and gan written on the colophon of fascicle three of the Lotus Sutra ( see fig. 29 ) also incorporate a long, slender, and exaggerated downward stroke complete with a small horizontal stroke at the beginning which ends with a straight upward hook s Lotus Sutra is dated to 672, when Chu Such close similarity may be the result of sutra copyists promoted by th e court. and his pie ) stroke can be recognized in many copied sutras. The Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom in Princeton is a good example, even though it was only a provincial copy in which c haracters like ruo mo and xu (fig. 37 ) closely re semble that in the characters yi jin se rong jing and li (fig. 38) i n the inscription of the famous Preface T he provincial sutra copyist s also a dopt ed Chu hook ( gou ) stroke which can be seen throughout the copy ist s Great Sutra (see fig. 37). In th is provincial copy, the copyist is purposely showing the brush tip at the beginning point of every horizontal or vertical stroke (see also fig. 37).
187 Although all the have been deliberately emphasized and well executed by this anonymous copyist transcribing the Great Sutra there are still defects that can be seen in the provisional copy. Amy McNair compares the character bian in the Great Sutra and zheng in Yanta (fig. 39) 75 Both characters contain th e drag ( na ) stroke, which, when used, is the last stroke to complete a character and often governs the balance of the composition. The drag stroke in both characters is depicted in a long, slender, and exaggerated manner ; instead of dragg ing downwards, they are stretched outward and, as a result the character appeared lifted and lively. The provincial copyist however, seem s to lack the precise skill to complete the d rag stroke with the sharp angle that was produced by master Chu. In addition, the center part of the character bian is crudely abbreviated This kind of lapse may suggest according to McNair, that our copyist might not have met the high calligraphic standards demanded in the capital 76 In my opinion, t he clumsy abbreviation in the character bian may be the result of the time constraints that were faced by all sutra copyist s. Sometimes abbreviation s were necess ary for the same reason Abbr e viating the original character wu which contains bountiful strokes, with the simplified form which has only four simple stro kes was a particular convention commonly adopted in sutra copying (see fig. 34). Regardless, there are always differences that can be detected between a master s hand and that of a copyist s, and close resemblance between them is evidence that the calli graphic quality established in the early Tang court was successful, long lasting and 75 Amy McNair, Texts of Taoism and Buddhism and the Power of Calligraphic Style 230. 76 Ibid.
188 copying and to distribute the copies on a grand scale proved to be of great value in cultivating and elevating the popularity of calligraphy which began in the Sui dynasty and developed fully during the Tang. However, this impact awaits further corroboration; and its evaluation may be a subject of future research. Po ssible I nfluence of C opyists on Elite Masters Along with the recognition that copyists often imitated the elite styles of their day, a question arises as to whether or not the work of copyists had made some influence s on elite master s. To answer that question, one would have t o counter a long tradition of scholarship Often denied or devalued by the intellectual mainstream religious manuscripts have not been considered important in the historical development of the calligraphic tradition in China. While literary sources suppor ting the argument that sutra copyist s influenced masters are scarce, one can certainly look for evidence in the surviving manuscripts. A major shift in the development of Chinese calligraphy is apparent in a change that took place during the mid Tang p eriod, when elegant, elongated characters were supplanted by rounder and squ arish characters. The squarish effect emphasized in the style of the leading calligraphy master at this time, Yan Zhenqing, was said to have initiated this new development. H owever as discussed previously squarish charac t ers ha d in fact often appeared in the copied sutras of earlier periods. This strongly suggests that Master Yan Zhenquing had encountered many copied sutra s and th ey may have
189 A few examples support this argument. A twenty two line handwritten copy of Preface to the Holy Teaching of Tripi aka (Sanzang s hengjiao xu ) (fig. 40), dated 700, 77 exhibits brushstrokes and compositional structure s that later appeared i n Y M anuscripts written at the end of seventh century illustrate similar traits : Taixuanzhen yibenji jing transcribed by the Daoist nun Zhao Miaoxu (fig. 41 ) 78 and a fragment of colophon of the Lotus Sutra (fig. 42), 79 bot h display round but powerful strokes and squarish characters. These manuscripts were executed many decades before Yan Zhenqing became a n influential figure S imilarities in character structure and brushstroke between Zhao Taixuanzhen yibenji jing and the celebrated Stele of Commemorating Duobao Pogoda inscribed by Yan Zhenqing are striking. It is presumptuous to assume that Yan utilized the earlier Dunhuang manuscript as a model to develop his style. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to believe that e ven an elite master like Yan Zhenqing could have encountered some earlier transcribed sutras that may have influenced his stylistic development. Sutra C opying/ R eproducing and M erit M aking Before and after the invention of printing, one important fact rema ined unchanged: the transcription and propagation of Buddhist texts were acts of faithful devotion, and sutra copying was a pious act performed as a means of cultivating religious merit. Within the Buddhist world of medieval China, it was widely believed t hat one who copies 77 Discussed in section Steles of Yanta Shengjiao Xu Bing Ji of C hapter 4, 111 and n. 84. 78 D ated 695, the Taixuanzhen y ibenji jing is housed in the Bibliothque Nationale de France (P 2170) 79 D ated 697, this fragment of colophon of the Lotus Sutra is housed in the British Library (S 2157)
190 sutras, commissions a sutra copyist to transcribe sutras, or pays for printing of sutras (after printing was invented) would accrue enormous blessings in this or a future life. Numerous passages from various Buddhist scriptures attest to the bliss that was supposedly accumulated through transcribing sutras. In the Lotus Sutra, one of the most influential scriptures in East Asian Buddhism, the or good woman shall accept and keep this Scripture of the Dharma Blossom whether reading it, reciting it, interpreting it, or copying it, that person shall attain eight hundred virtues of the body. 80 This passage is part of a long revelation where Buddha offers blessings and call s living beings to pur ify body and min d in order to enjoy, lov e and rever e the Scripture of the Lotus Blossom This is part of a religious practice that includes reading, reciting, explaining or copying scripture S imilar message confirming that these religious practices are the means by wh ich one may accumulate merit can be found in many sections of the Lotus Sutra keep, read and recite, recall properly, cultivate and practice, and copy this Scripture of son has been praised by the Buddha 81 From a Chinese perspective a society that privilege s writing as a literary, spiritual, and aesthetic endeavor, the copying of sutras achieves twofold 80 T 9.47c : Translation is from Leon Hurvitz trans., Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma 264. 81 T 9.061c : , , , T ranslation is from Leon Hurvitz trans., Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma 335.
191 purpose: it reaffirm s the cultural belief that writing cultivates a person s virtue while, the same time, garners the blessings from the Buddha. 82 Encouraging devotees to read, recite, practice, transcribe, and disseminate sutras can be found in many Mahayana scriptures. The Flower Adorn ment S utra specifies that into the Land of Pure Bliss of Amitabha Buddha. 83 In addition to emphasizing the blessings that can be acquired by transcribing sutras, Flower Ador n ment Sutra offers further instruction for a more rigorous form of devotion also attained through writing. A passage in which the bodhisattva Samantabhadra Puxian advises the pilgrim Sudhana to take ten great vows including the one to imitate the B uddha, reads: The Buddha Vairocana was willing to give his life. He peeled his skin for paper, broke off a bone for a pen, and drew his own blood for in k The scriptures he copied in this manner stacked up as high as Mount Sumerued. 84 Another important r ecord of blood writing in Buddhist sutras is in the Brahma s Net Scripture 85 which instructs devotees to: Cut away your skin for paper, draw your blood for ink and use your marrow for water. Break off a piece of your own bone for a pen and copy out the Bu ddhist 82 My speculat ion is that, given the Chinese privileging of writing, sutra copying may have been considered the highest form for accumulating merit. 83 T 10.8 46c : , , , , , , . The citation is from the Flower Adornment Sutra a version translated by Praja completed around 798, in T 10.661a 848b. 84 T 10.845 b : , , , , , , Ibid. 85 Brahma s Net Scriptu re is a text that claims to be a translation of an Indian original, but was probably in fact compiled in China in the fifth century. See John Kieschnick, Blood Writing in Chinese Buddhism, 179, and n 9.
192 precepts. 86 When the actual practice of mixing blood with ink and copying scriptures with a brush on paper was carried out, it reflects the determined zeal of devotes who saw themselves on the margin of the Buddhist world. 87 Th is implies that great physical suffering combined with perseverance is for these Buddhists, a joy. Fayuan zhulin a seventh century Buddhist text r e iterates the notion that this particular k ind of devotion and affirm ation can bring joy. 88 Although sutras written with human b lood have not survived, numerous historical documents and resources assert that many monks and devote es pricked their tongue or finger to draw blood mixed it with ink and then used it to copy Buddhist scriptures. 89 A well known example monk Zengren from the Longxing Temple in Lingwu transcribed two fascicles of scriptures with his own blood and later submitted these scriptures to the emperor. 90 This kind of ascetic practice is lauded not only in Buddhist texts, but also in Tang history and poetr y Jiu Tan g shu tells us that when Emperor Suzong (r. 756 761) was ill, his empress copie d Buddhist scriptures with her blood in the belief that her action would contribute to her husband's recovery. 91 A poem composed by monk Guanxiu (832 912) praise s a fellow monk who drained the blood from his ten fingers in order to complete seven rolls of the Flower Adornment Sutr a. 92 In addition to 86 T 24.1009a. T ranslation from John Kieschnick, Blood Writing in Chinese Buddhism, 179. 87 John Kieschnick, Blood Writing in Chinese Buddhism, 180. 88 T 53.907c : , , 89 John Kieschnick, Blood Writing in Chinese Buddhism, 177 78. 90 Zan Ning, Song Gaozeng zhuan 26.667 68 91 JTS 10.260. 92 Quan Tang shi 837.9438.
193 textual references, a carved inscription on the celebrated Stele of Commemorating Duobao Pogoda 93 erected in 752 states that t he Chan Master Chujin (fl. 740 760) used his own blood to transcribe the Lotus Sutra the and the S tra of Meditation on the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue More vivid examples can be found in the Dunhuang manuscripts. According to one colophon in the Bibliothque Nationale de France a n eighty three year old devotee claims to have draw n his own blood, which he then mixed with ink, to transcribe the Diamond Sutra A t the end of the colophon he gives a date of 906 and de dicates his act all the belie vers in Sha Prefecture ; may the state and the land be still and peaceful; may the wheel of the Law turn forever. Should I die in writing it, I ask only that I quickly pass out of this world, I have no other prayers. 94 T h e claim of drawing blood to copy sut ra should not necessarily take l iterally and could interprete that this eighty three year old devotee ornamented the writing with his physical suffering as a sign of his sincerity. 95 It is my opinion that e ven if these references to the use of blood and skin were metaphorical rather than actual, the conceptual link made from physical suffering as the highest devotion to the actual act of writing underscores the importance of writing as a primary vehicle for the accumulation of merit. In turn, this physica l sacrifice, which 93 The Stele was penned by Yan Zhenqing For details on the stele and calligrapher, see section Tang kai in Chapter 3, and n. 86. 94 A copy of the Diamond Sutra in the Bibliothque Nationale de France coded P. 2876 has a colophon reads Translation is mod ified from John Kieschnick, Blood Writing in Chinese Buddhism, 184. 95 John Kieschnick, Blood Writing in Chinese Buddhism, 185.
194 signals the practi ti high degree of religious devotion, increases the value of the writing. Buddhist D issemination vs. Daoist I solation The spirit conveyed by the artist is a key factor in the evaluation of calligraphy as an art fo rm. As outlined earlier, from the time writing was invented the act of writing ha s been imbued with divine power. This emphasis on the metaphysical transformed during a focus on aesthetic quality. Theories about the pract ice of calligraphy as well as the systems that emerged to critique or classify calligraphic works tended to regard calligraphy as a spiritual pursuit, an attribute that used to describe the great masters of calligraphy, while the best kind of calligraphy was often referred to as inspired with 96 was used by Sun Guoting in his Shupu Huangting jing a Daoist s cripture containing the only small standard script written by Wang Xizhi. Lantin g xu the most 97 Being highly imbedded with spirit, calligraphy was used by both Buddhists and Daoists as a vehicle to promote their religions T heir ideas regarding production however, were different. In Daoism, prac ti tioners believe that the fate of manuscripts should be guided by heavenly p rovidence; hence the sacred scriptures were not made 96 Sun Guoting, Shu pu i n LDSF 128: Translation from Two Chinese Treatises on Calligraphy: Treatise on Calligrap hy (Shu pu) by Sun Qianli and (Xu shu pu) translated and annotated by Chang and Frankel 10. 97 Ibid., : Translation from Two Chinese Treatises on Calligraphy ( translated and annotated by Chang and Frankel ), 10 11
195 for everybody but rather for the initiated. The permanent possession of a piece of scripture assured that the owner enjoyed the direct communication with the spirit and heavenly grace. For Buddhists, ho wever, the practice of copying and disseminating efforts resulted in the production of a colossal number of Buddhist manuscripts, which contributed to the prolific spread o f their religion. At the same time, Buddhists engraved their scriptures on mountain stones and erected steles with inscriptions of either Buddhist texts or words that commemorated Buddhist events or honored eminent monks. These monuments not only served to promote the religion, but also preserved the calligraphy for a long period of time. In contrast, due to the exclusive nature of Daoism and the secrecy of their texts, public stones with Daoist inscriptions were rare, and the mass production of Daoist text was inhibited. Both Buddhism and Daoism, however, sought to transfer the cultural value already ascribed to calligraphy within the Chinese tradition to religious purpose, thereby increasing the prestige and value of their own religions. In turn, religious spirit has long influenced critical evaluations of the aesthetic qualities of calligraphy as well as its practice.
196 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION The primary sources available for the study of Tang calligraphy are inscriptions on steles and manuscripts from Du nhuang. Most of these calligraphic transcriptions are related to Buddhism and reflect complex interactions between the ideology, practices, and agendas of Buddhism, and those of the early Tang court. graphy as the model for the Tang style of standard script, later known as Tang kai provided the foundation for the establishment of a classicial tradition of Chinese calligraphy. While refined and energetic, as well as formal, precise, and easily legible, Tang kai was widely used for government documents stele inscriptions and sutra copies. The use of Tang kai increased the accuracy and efficiency of copying and, in turn, not only pro pagated Tang culture but also escalated the spread of Buddhism in Chin a. In the support of calligraphic practices, the interests of the Tang government and the mission of Buddhism sometimes converged often to the benefit of both. In addition, the vigorous promotion o f calligraphy orchestrated by the Tang court and the subse quent respon se from Buddhist monasteries transformed calligraphy from an elite practice to a n activity prevalen t among commoners This new cultural milieu is evident from the voluminous Tang Buddhist manuscripts discovered from Dunhuang and examained in th is study, and through which a dynamic relationship between the elite calligraphy masters and sutra copyist s has been revealed. This study has illustrate d that the reproduction and distribution of Buddhist manuscripts and rubbings taken from Buddhist stel es created opportunities for more people, even non elite and secular populations, to read, appreciate, and ultimately
197 practice calligraphy. In the service of religious and political ends, calligraphic practices during the early Tang somewhat democratized r elationships in society, as aesthetic skill like calligraphy, and flowing streams ( xingyu n liu sh ui ) calligraphy was an art form that connected and moved across institutional and social boundaries.
198 APPENDIX A LIST OF ILLUSTRATION S 1 Bingbian 247 (Rubbing of jiaguwen ) preface, charge, and verification of Lady ing birth, datable to 12 00 BCE in the Collection of Academia Sinica, Taiwan Source: D avid N Keightley, Source of Shang Histo ry, fig. 12 2 Shi Qiang pan with rubbing, datable tenth to early ninth century BCE in Baoji Municipal Museum, Shaanxi Province Source: Ouyang Z hangshi, Chinese Calligraphy pl. 2.8 3 Wang Xizhi, Lanting xu ink on paper, original dated 353, Tang imitation, Shenlong version, allegedly made by Feng Chengsu in the Collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing Source: Ouyang Zhangshi, Chinese Pa inting, pl. 3.23 3a Detail of above Source: Ouyang Zhangshi, Chinese Painting, pl. 1 19 4 Tang Taizong, Jinci ming ink rubbing on paper 646 Stele in Jinc i Source: Li Gang ed. Jinci zhi ming bin xu p. 38 5 Tang Taizong, Wenchua n ming ink rubbing on paper, 648 i n the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P 4508 ) Source: Rao Zongyi, ed., Facong Dunhuang shuyuan jinhua, 1 .7 6 Ouyang Xun, Jiuchenggong L iquan ming ink rubbing on paper, 632 Northern Song rubbin g in the C ollection of the Palace Museum, Beijing Source: Ouyang Zh o ngshi, Chinese Painting, pl. 4.7 7 Yu Shinan, Kongzi miaotang bei ink rubbing on paper, 628 630 rubbing from the original stele, now in the collection of the Mitsui Memorial M useum, Tokyo Source: Ouyang Zh o ngshi, Chinese Painting, pl. 4.9 8 Chu Suiliang, Yique Fokan bei mounted ink rubbing, 641 Song dynasty rubbing in the collection of the National Library of China, Beijing Source: Ouyang Zh o ngshi, Chinese Painting, pl. 4.10 9 Yu Shinan, Feng fashi bei ink rubbing, 642 Song dynasty rubbing in the Collection of Mitsui Memorial Museum, Tokyo Source: Ouyang Zh o ngshi, Chinese Painting, pl. 4.11 10a Chu Suiliang, Yanta s hengjiao xu ink rubbing, 653 Min g dynasty rubbing in the Palace Museum, Beijing Source: Ouyang Zh o ngshi, Chinese Painting, pl. 4.12. 10b Chu Suiliang, Yanta s hengjiao xu ji ink rubbing, 653 Ming dynasty rubbing in the Collection of Wenwu chubanshe, Beijing Source: Tang Chu Suilia ng shu Yanta s hengjiao xu ji ( Beijing: Wenwu, 1983), [p. 36].
199 11 Wang Xizhi, Yue Y i lun ink on paper, from Yu Q ing zhai fa tie (model book produced ca. 1598 1614). Source: Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition, fig. 6, also in Shodo Zen shu 4.27 12 Zhang Xuan muzhi mounted ink rubbing of an in tomb epitaph, 531 i n the Shanghai Museum Source: Ouyang Zhangshi, Chinese Painting, pl. 3.50 13 Zhu Dailin muzhi mounted ink rubbing of a stele, 571 i n the Palace Museum, Beijing. Source: Ouyang Zhangshi, Chinese Painting, pl. 3.51 14 Ji Wang s hengjiao xu bing ji ink rubbing, 672 Song dynasty rubbing in the Collection of National Palace Museum Taibei Source: Song ta s hengjiao xu ( Taibei: National Palace Museum 1983, 19 64c ) [p. 1 2]. 15 Tonzhou s hengjiao xu bing ji ink rubbing, 663 Stele is now in Xi an Beilin Source: Li Yuzheng, Xi an Beilin shufa yishu p. 132 16 Wang Xingman, Yanshi s hengjiao xu bing ji in k rubbing, 657 Stele is now in Henan Yansh i Source: Shi Zhecun, Tangbei baixuan p. 81 17 Free hand copy of Yanta s hengjiao xu ink on paper, ca. 700 i n the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P .2780) Source: Wo Xinghua, Dunhuang shufa yishu fig. 2.5 18 Characters , from Yanta s hengjiao xu bing ji see above no. 10 a and 10 b Source: Tang Chu Suiliang shu Yanta s hengjiao xu ji ( Wenwu ), [ p. 58, 37, 43]. 19 Top: Chu Suiliang, Y anta s hengjiao xu see above no. 10a and 10b Source: Tang Chu Suiliang shu Yanta he ngjiao xu ji ( Wenwu ) p. , ; bottom: Tongzhou s hengjiao xu see above no. 15 Source: Li Yuzheng, Xi an Beilin shufa yishu p. 132 20 Top: c haracter in Yanta Shengjiao xu see above no. 10a and 10b Source: Tang Chu Suiliang shu Yanta hengj iao xu ji ( Wenwu ) p. , ; bottom: character in Tongzhou hengjiao xu see above 15 Source: Li Yuzheng, Xi an Beilin shufa yishu p. 132 21 Copy of the Weimojie jing ink on paper, 393 i n Shanghai Museum Source: Jiao Mingcheng, Dunhuang xie juan yanjiu fig. 2 22 Copy of the Shisong biqiu jieben ink on paper, 405 in the British Library (S.0797) Source: Jiao Mingcheng, Dunhuang xiejuan yanjiu fig. 3. 23 Copy of the Siyi jing ( fascicle four) ink on paper, 588 i n the Brit ish Library (S. 4020) Source: Jiao Mingcheng, Dunhuang xiejuan yanjiu fig. 29, pp. 266 67
200 24 Zhongahan jing ( fascicle eight) ink on paper, 602 in the British Library (S. 3548) Source: Jiao Mingcheng, Dunhuang xiejuan yanjiu fig. 33, pp. 280 8 1 25a b Lanting xu fragments, free hand copy ( practice ) ink on paper, ca. late 9 th century i n the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P .3194 and P.2622) Source: Shen Leping, Dunhuang shufa z o nglun, p. 112 26 Lanting xu free han d copy (practice), ink on paper, ca. 9 th century in the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P.2544) Source: Shen Leping, Dunhuang shufa z o nglun p. 11 3 27a Jiang Shanjin Zhiyong zhencao qianziwen fragment, free hand copy, ink on paper 641 in the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P.3561) Source: Rao Zongyi Facang Dunhuang shuyuan jinghua 1 .90 27b Jiang Shanjin Zhiyong zhencao qianziwen the last section, free hand copy ink on paper, 641 i n the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P.3561) Source: Jiao Mingcheng, Dunhuang xiejuan fig. 3 9 p. 300 28 Tang Taizong, Wenquan ming (detail) ink rubbing on paper, fragment with handwriting and date ( 653 ), i n the Collection the Bibliothque Nation ale de France ( P.4508) Source: Rao Zongyi, Facong Dunhuang shuyuan jinhua, 1 1 7 29 Ouyang Xun, Huadusi bei sections of ink rubbing on paper, 631 i n the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P.4510) Source: Rao Zongyi, Facong Dunhuang shuyuan jinhua, 1 18 19 30a Shen Hong, copy of the Apitan piposha lun (fascicle sixty), ink on paper, 662 i n the Calligraphy Museum in Tokyo Source: Jiao Mingcheng, Dunhuang xiejuan fig. 40 pp. 302 03 30b Shen Hong, copy of the Apitan piposha lun (fascicle fifty two), ink on paper, 662 i n the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P.2056) Source: Rao Zongyi, Dunhuang shufa congkan 23.29 31 Wang Siqian, copy of the Lotus Sutra (fascicle 3), ink on paper, 672 in the Dunhua ng County Museum ( 55) Source: Harrist and Fong, The Embodied Image p. 23 1 fig. 7 32 Cheng Du, copy of the Lotus Sutra (fascicle 3), ink on paper, 671 i n the British Library (S.5319) Source: Jiao Mingcheng, Dunhuang xiejuan fig. 4 2, pp. 310 11 33 Copy of the Daji jing (fascicle eighteen), ink on paper, 583 i n the British Library (S.3935) Source: Jiao Mingcheng, Dunhuang xiejuan fig. 28 p, 262 34 Copy of the Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom (fascicle 329), ink on paper, 674 i n the Elliott Co llection of Princeton Source: Harrist and Fong, The Embodied Image pp. 1 00 1 01
201 35a C haracter in the Apitan piposha lun (fascicle fifty two) by Shen Hong see above no. 30b. 35b C haracter in the Lanting xu by Wang Xizhi see above no. 3. 35c C haracter in the Yanta s hengjiao xu bing ji by Chu Suiliang see above no. 10 b Source: Tang Chu Suiliang shu Yanta s hengjiao xu ji ( Wenwu ) [p. 48]. 35d C haracter in t he Yanta Shengjiao xu bing ji by Chu Suiliang s ee above no. 1 0b Source: Tang Chu Suiliang shu Yanta s hengjiao xu ji ( Wenwu ) [p. 9]. 36a C haracters , in the Api tan piposha lun (fascicle fifty two) by Shen Hong see above no. 30b. 36b C haracters , in the Yanta s hengjiao xu bing ji by Chu Suiliang see above no. 10b. Source: Tang Chu Suiliang shu Yanta s hengjiao xu ji ( Wenwu ), [p. 2, 25, 1]. 36c C ha racters , in the Lanting xu by Wang Xizhi see above no. 3 37 The Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom (fascicle 329), detail, ink on paper, 674 i n the Elliott Collection of Princeton Source: Harrist and Fong, The Embodied Image p. 101 38 Chu Suiliang, Yanta Shengjiao xu section, see above 10b. Source: Tang Chu Suiliang shu Yanta Shengjiao xu ji ( Wenwu ) [p. 12] 39 C haracter in the Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom in the Elliott Collection of Princeton see above no. 37; char acter from Yanta Shengjiao xu by Chu Suiliang see above no. 10b. Source: Tang Chu Suiliang shu Yanta s hengjiao xu ji ( Wenwu ), [p. 5]. 40 Copy of Sansang Shengjiao xu composed by Empress Wu, by an anonymous copyist, ink on paper, 700 i n the Co llection the Bibliothque Nationale de France ( P. 3831 ) Source: Facong Dunhuang shuyuan jinhua, Rao Zongyi, ed., 1 103 1 04 41 Zhao Miaoxu, copy of the Taixuanzhen yibenji jing ink on paper, 695 in the Collection the Bibliothque Nationale de Fran ce ( P. 2170 ) Source: The International Dunhuang Project: the Silk Road Online http://idp.bl.uk/database/oo_scroll_h.a4d?uid= 15351323537;recnum=59236;index=1 4 2 Copy of the Lotus Sutra ( fascicle four with colophon ) ink on paper, 697 in the British Library (S.2157) Source: The International Dunhuang Project: the Silk Road O nline http://idp.bl.uk/database/oo_scroll_h.a4d?uid= 15348699867;recnum=2156;index=1
202 APPENDIX B TABLE OF CANONICAL B UDDHIST TEXTS CITED IN THE DISSERTATION A u tra (C hi : A Mituo jing or Mituo jing ) Api tan p i posha l un (Skt: Abhidharma ) /Bodhisattva Precepts S u tra (Chi: Fanwang pusa jie jing ; usually abbreviated Fanwang jing or Pusajie jin g ) Chishi jing Da zhi du lun (Skt: ) Daji jing ( A bbrivated from: Da fangdeng daji jing ; S kt : M s ; Eng: S u tra of the Great Assembly of Great Doctrinal Universality ) Diamond S u tra ( Chi: Jing ang bore boluomiduo jing ; usually abbreviated Jingang jing ; Skt: p s ) Heart S u tra ( Chi: B ore boluomiduo xin jing ; usually abbreviated Xin jing ; S kt : daya s ) Flower Adornment Sutra ( Chi: Defang guangfo huay a n jing ; usually abbreviated Hua y an j ing ; S kt : saka s usually abbreviated and commonly known as Avata ) Foming jing (Eng: S u tra on the names of the Buddha ) Foshuo shanxin pusa ershisi jiejing Lotus Sutra (Chi: Miaofa lianhua jing ; usually abbreviated Fahua jing ; Skt: Saddharma Pu s ) Nirvana S u tra (Ch i : Daban niepan jing ; usually abbreviated N iepan jing ; S kt : a s ) Piyu jing (Eng: Parable Sutra ) Qishi jing Sifenlu shanbusuiji jiemuo
203 Siyi jing ( S kt : acintabrahma s ) S u tra in Forty two Sections (Chi: Sishierzhang jing ) S u tra of Meditation on the Bodhisattva Universal Virtu e (Chi: Fo shuo guan Puxian Pusa xingfa jing or Guan Puxian pusa xingfa jing ; usually abbreviated Puxian guan jing or Puxian jing ) S u tra of the Most Honored King ( Chi: Jinguangming zuishengwang jing ; S kt : Suvar a s tra ) S u tra of the Perfection of Wisdom /Great Sutra of the Wisdom (Chi: Da b anro polomiduo jing ; usually abbreviated Dabanro jing ; Skt: Great s ) Ten D iscourses of Being Initiated into Monkhood (Chi: Shisong biqio jieben ) S u tra ( Chi: Weimojie jing ; S kt : s ) ( Yujia shi tilun ) Zhongahan jing (Eng: Sutra ; Skt : Sa Sa yukta S tra )
204 APPENDIX C ANNOTATED TRANSLATIO N OF THE PREFACE TO THE HOLY TEACHINGS OF THE TRIPI AKA OF THE GREAT TAN G COMPOSED BY TANG T AIZONG Preface to the Holy Teachings of the Tripi aka 1 of the Great Tan g Composed by Taizong [r. 629 649], the August Emperor Wen 2 It is said that the two primordial principles [ yin and yang ] 3 have visible form and harbor port 4 ; although the four seasons have no shape, they transform all things through their latent ability of cold and heat. For this reason, peering into heaven and inspecting the earth, [even] the common fools all distinguish the two extremes; [yet] while illuminating yin and penetrating yang the virtuous and wise seldom exhaust the multitude [of their diversity]. 1 Tripi in many versions, while the oldest and most complete one is called the Pali Canon. Therefore Tripi aka is also known as the Pali Canon with an alternate spelling: Tipi aka in Pali. The three Baskets of the Law in Pali includes: the Vinaya monks and nuns; the Sutra pitaka, a collection of sermons of the Buddd ha; and the Adhidharma pitaka, which contains interpretations of analyses of Buddhist concepts. 2 Li Shimin (599 649), second son of Tang Gaozu (r. 618 626), was enthroned on 626 as A t his death on 649 the posthumous was added He proclaimed his era, the period of Zhenguan (627 649) D uring his reign China flourished economically and militarily. He contrived political harmony by tempering and adap ting Buddhism along with Confucianism and Daoism inside and outside the imperial court. Bi o graphy in XTS 2.23 50. 3 In Xici the so called Ten Wings appended to the core text of the Changes it states The Changes embodies the universe from which t he two spheres ( yin : heaven, and yang : earth) were created and from these were born the four images (lesser yang, greater yang, lesser yin, greater yin ) ( ; ) For the o riginal text and annotations see Zhou I quanyi by Xu Zihon g (Guizhou: Guizhou renmin chubanshe, 1991), 367 The is interpreted as the four seasons. 4 Fuzai refers to heaven and earth and their huge coverage. The phrase was originated from Yuben
205 That Heaven and Earth, being bound to yin and yang are easy to distinguis h is because they possess visible form. That yin and yang residing in heaven and each, are difficult to exhaust is because they have no shape. Thus it is apparent that when an image is sufficiently manifest to be verified, even a fool would not be confused ; but when a shape is hidden and not at all detectable, a wise man may still be deluded All the more so in the case of the exalted vacuity (or immateriality) 5 which avails i tself of solitude to control loneliness. It extends salvation to the myriad categories [of things] and its code manages the ten directions 6 When its authoritative spirituality is uplifted, there is nothing higher, when its spiritual force press down, ther e is nothing lower. In its size, it is more boundless than the universe; in its minuteness, it is more [easily] crushed than the slightest particle. Admitting no destruction nor birth, [the Way of Buddha] has passed through a thousan d kalpas 7 and not grown old; seemingly hidden, yet seemingly manifest, it has conveyed countless blessings yet is eternally of the present moment. The abstruse doctrine is composed in dark mystery. When following it up, none can perceive the boundar ies. The flow of the doctrine is steeped with solitude When ladling it out, non e can fathom its origin. Therefore, in the case of the doltish masses, being very simple and ordinary, although they [may] take interest in the doctrine, how could they not be confused! 5 Xu is defined as that which is without shape or substantiality in Buddhism. It is often combined with kong or wu ; both xukong and xuwu can be interpreted as empty void, or immaterial. 6 Ten directions Shifang is a Buddhist term incl uding the four main directions towards East, West, South, and North, with four corners of southeast, southwest, northeast, and n o r th we st, plus two upward and downward directions In total, that completes every direction and every corner of un i verse. 7 Ka lpa, a Sanskrit, means the length of a Day and Night of Brahma, described in the Pali Canon as the unrolling and rolling up of the universe.
206 Nevertheless, the florescence of the great doctrine was based in a Western land 8 It rose to the court of Han and brightened our blind slumber, as it shone up on border lands of the East and caused compassion to stream forth. Long ago, when the form and footsteps [of the historical Buddha] could be discerned, his words had not yet spread far but his enlightenment has already accomplished In the world now, people look up his virtue and understand how to follow it. By the time his shadow faded away and returned to the ultimate truth, the Nirvana, 9 he changed his look and transgressed another world. [Scu lptured] faces cast in shining gold do not mirror [His] three thousand beams of light; elegant images used as illustrations vainly reach toward [the teaching about] the Four Phases 10 and Eight Directions. 11 8 In Mahayana Buddhism, Westland Xitu is an abbreviated term for the Pure Land of the West, referring to India. 9 ( guizhen ) literal means to return to the place where one was originally from. It can be traced in many classical writings, such as the n Gu (32 92) I n current text, it refers to the Buddhist term, Nirvana which is the supreme goal of B uddhist ; release from suffering and individual limitations of existence as the the ultimate goal of all Budd hists. The word is derived from a root meaning extinguished through lack of fuel, and since rebirth is the result of desire, freedom from rebirth is attained by the extinguishing of all such desire. The attainment of nirvana breaks the otherwise endless re birth cycle of reincarnation. Nirvana is, therefore, a state attainable in this life by right aspiration, purity of life, and the elimination of egoism. 10 The four phases of life, s ixiang in Buddhism refers to s hengxiang from the void to the existence, z huxiang the growth, y ixiang the change to be old and decayed, and m iexiang the final elimination. These four phases act in a continuous motion; as one is born, the other one d ies; while one dies, the other one is born. 11 The eight directions of life, b axiang in Mahayana Buddhism refers to : j iang doushuai descending from heaven, r utai taking possession of a foetus (being conceived as a foetus), z hutai growing in a womb, c hutai being born, c hujia leaving home life and becoming a devotee, c hengdao attaining spiritual perfection, z huan falun promoting the wheel with roller breaking heresy, carrying forward Buddhism, and r umie entering the final elimina tion. These eight directions are actually the extension of four phases of life (see note 10). Each phases (being born, growing, getting old and die) has a greater and lesser phases; one is main phase while the other one is subordinate and total completes t he eight directions of life.
207 Hence it is the w ords broadly extended that save and protect all things from the three evil paths 12 ; the bequeathed doctrines, preached far and wide that guide the all living creature t o reach the ten realms. 13 Nevertheless the true doctrine is difficult to rely on, for none have been able to unite meaning into a single [body]. Distorted schools of thought [about it] are easily followed; the deviant and the truthful are mixed in confusion therein. Therefore there are [different] disquisitions about [the meaning of] 14 and which ones are right or wrong is often decided by habitual custom; [just as] t he Greater Vehicle and Lesser Vehicle 15 have in alternation prospered over the course of time. [Now] there was a Dharma master by the name of Xuanzang [569 or 602 664], 16 who became a leader of the Buddhist faith. 12 Buddhist expression for the lowest transmigrations the path of fire (hell), the path of blood (hungry ghosts), and the path of the knife (beasts). 13 In Mahayana Huayan Scritpure, the ten realms refer to different stages of entering the path towards final enlightenment including , , , , 14 Sanskrit no u n from the adj. 'void' ), is k ng/ k in Chinese/Japanese, meaning "Emptiness" or "Voidness", is a character istic of phenomena arising from the fact (as observed and taught by the Buddha) that the impermanent nature of form means that nothing possesses essential, enduring identity. In the Buddha's spiritual teaching, insight into the emptiness of phenomena (Pali : ) is an aspect of the cultivation of insight that leads to wisdom and inner peace. The importance of this insight is especially emphasi z ed in Mahayana Buddhism, and receives a more positive explication in the Tathagatagarbha sutras. 15 The terms of The Lesser Vehicle and The Greater Vehicle appeared around the first century as to distinguish the early Buddhist schools and later reformulated teachings of Buddha. Hinayana, a Sanskrit and Pali term literally meaning the lower or lesser ve hicle (a way of going to enlightenment), is also known as Theravada Buddhism with focus primarily on meditation and on the monastic life. On the contrary Mahayana, the greater vehicle, in order to accommodating masses turned Buddhism into a more esote ric religion by developing a theory of gradations of Buddhahood. Mahayanists believe that at the top stand for Buddhahood is preceded by a series of lives, the numerous Bodhisattvas, hence the religious authority is extended to a greater number of people r ather than concentrating it in the hands of a few. 16 See C hapter 4 n. 1 2
208 Imbued with virtue and perspicacity at young age, he apprehended [things] with the mind of 17 in his early life. Committed to matters of spirituality for a long pe 18 [Even] the breeze through the pine trees and the moon [re flected] in the water could never compare with his purity and elegance; [even] the dew of immortality and the most l ustrous pearl cannot be set alongside his limpidity and smoothness. Hence with his wisdom, he could reach with out bondage, and with spirituality, he could fathom the formless. He transcended and removed himself from the six worldly environments (six defilements). 19 He was unique, through a thousand ages, without counterpart. He concentrate d his mind very deep inside, and was saddened by the deterioration of 20 (or Gate of the Abstruse Teaching?) and he deeply regretted the errors in its [transmitted] writings. He formed the intention to distinguish points of doctrine and analyze the truth, to broaden that which had earlier been known, to cut away the false and to add to the true, and to open this way for later learners. 17 Three contemplations of the aspect of emptiness is the profound meaning of the Mahayana teaching: n on attachment as its significance, and no form nor deeds, no rising nor falling are its implications. The unsatisfactoriness (s. dukkha). From the standpo int of enlightenment, enlightenment. 18 In Mahayana text, the noble truth of suffering includ es the four aspects o f endurance: birth, aging, illness and death ( , ) 19 Liuchen a Buddhist expression, means the six states of carnal world : color, sound, smell, taste, touch and perception of power ( , , ) It can also refer to Six Defilements: greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, doubt, and false views. 20 Xuanmen litera l ly translated as the Gate of Mysteries, implying the Gate of Abstruse Teaching which refers to t he profound school, i.e. Buddhism. Also that of the Huayan (Kegon) which has a division of Ten Mysterious Gate (shi xuanmen ) or Ten Mysterious Affinities Arise (shi xuan yuanqi ) t he ten philosophic ideas indicating the ten metaphysical propositions, or lines of thought
209 Fo r this reason, with a heart longing for the Pure Land 21 he set out on a journey to the Western Region s 22 Bearing dangers on a faraway journey, he [grasped] a riding whip 23 [to set out] on his lonely expedition. Piled up drifts of snow flew in the morning, causing him to lose his way along the route; sandstorms arose in the evening, obliterating the sky to the farthest horizon. T hrough ten thousand miles of mountains and rivers he pushed asi de mist and fog as his shadow crept forward; through a hundred changes of cold and heat, he treaded upon frost and rain as his footsteps advanced forward. His earnest sincerity was so weighty that his labors became light; his yearning was so profound that his compelling desire was realized. All around the Western Lands he traveled, for a total of seventeen years. He traveled exhaustedly through the country where the Way of Buddha was prevailed in ord er to acquire the orthodox teachings [of Dharma]. By the Twin [ ] Trees 24 and Eight Rivers, 25 Way. In the Deer Park 26 and on the Vulture Peak, 27 he watched magnificent scenes and looke d at marvelous things. 21 Jin g tu refers to India, as Pure Land of the West, se e above n. 8. Litera l ly, Jin g tu can be translated as pure locality, i.e. where a chaste m onk dwells. It has however, become a standard term for The Pure Land, or Paradise of the West, in Sanskrit s Buddhas have t heir Pure Lands; seventeen other kinds of pure land are also described, all of them of moral or spiritual conditions of development, e.g. the pure land of patience, zeal, wisdom, etc. 22 Western Regions refers to the region in China west of the yangguan (gate to the path of the sun; i.e., the main gate). During the Ha and Tang dynasties, the area was traveled by merchants and missionaries, and various routes known collectively as the Silk Road played an important role in cultural exchange. 23 Zhangce litera l to riding a horse. 24 Twin trees, refers to the trees in Kusinagar under which the Buddha entered nirvana. In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta it was recorded that the petals of flowers rained on him as he breath ed his last. 25 Eight rivers of India 26 The first sermon of the Buddha was given in the Deer park at Isipatana. There he addressed the bhikkhus of the group of five. 27 Mountain of vulture, Jiu fong is a mountain in India said to be like a head of a vulture, and often known as the resort of Buddha and called Vulture Peak.
210 There having inherited most valuable sayings from previous saints, and having received genuine instruction from superior sages, he explored to the wonderful gate [of Buddhism], and diligently sought for th e subtle meaning of [Buddhist] doctrines. 28 29 were speedily 30 and the Three Basket s, 31 they poured out like waves and billows of the ocean rolling from his mouth. Then from the countries he passed through, he collected all the important texts of the Tripitaka. In total six hundred fifty seven works 32 were translated and distributed in the land of China for the promulgation of great deeds. [By doing so, Xuanzang] drew forth clouds of compassion from the extreme West that pured Dharma rain upon the Eastern reaches. Holy Teaching s that had been lacking were again complete, and common beings who were living in sin were restored to a blessed state. 28 One Buddha Vehicle Yi cheng ( s heng ) ( Ekayana in Sanskrit) refers to the Vehicle that offers the path to Enlightenment. In Ekayana it is believed that the buddha nature in all is recognized and the noblest form of Buddhist practice is the way of the Bodhisattvas, those who devote themselves to attaining enlightenment not only for thems elves but for all beings. In the context of the Lotus Sutra ( Ekayana Buddhism the believers to lead more creative lives by developing a flexible mind. 29 Vinaya in Five Parts Wu fen lu ( Mahisasakavinaya in Sanskrit) was introduced into China by famous monk Fa Xian (died before 432) about 412. Vinaya refers to the regulations of the monastic life. o ho `Shen chih Lu` ( an ( ) area, welcomed this set of monastic rules and practiced them in their daily life. 30 There are four categories of Buddhist scriptures in each Theravada (Hinayana) and Mahayana: V inaya pitaka ( lu ) the regulations of monastic life, Sut r a pitaka ( jing ) the discourses of the Budddha, Adhidhamma pitaka ( lun ) the interest in scholasticism, and vidya dhara pitaka ( zhou ) the incantations. Total those Buddhist literature is sometime s called Eight Treasures, Bazang or Babuzang 31 San jia refers to S an zang three major Buddhist scriptures: lu, jing and lun (see above n. 1 ). 32 The t otal number of 657 books includ es 224 books of Mahayana sutras, 192 books of Mahayana sa stras, 15 books of the Tripitaka of the Sthavira School, 15 books of th Tripitaka of the Sammatiya School, 22 books of the Tripitaka of the Mahisasaka School, 17 books of the Tripitaka of the Kasyapiya School, 42 books of the Tripitaka of the Dharmagupta S chool, 67 books of the Tripitaka of the Sarvastivadin School, 36 books concerning the Hetuvidya Sa stra and 13 books concerning the Sabdavidya Sustra. See Li Rongxi, T he Life of Hsuan tsang 208 09.
211 The dry flames of a burning house were extinguished, such that all people could be plucked away from the path clarified, such that all people could together reach the other bank [ or the other end of realm ] 33 Therefore we know that evil befalls us in consequence of [past] sins and good things arise through [appropriate] conditions. The extremities of the befalling [of evil] or rising up [of good] owe solely to that upon which men rely. This may be compared with the osmanthus that grows on a high pea k only then may its flowers be moistered with scattered dew; or with the lotus that emerges from waves filtered [of impurities] 34 there flying dust cannot defile its leaves. It is not the case that the essence of the lotus is naturally pure, or that character of the o smanthus is originally chaste. It is very much owing to the height on which the tree depends that it cannot be entangled by trifling things, 35 and also because of the pureness upon which the flower rel ies that nothing foul can stick to it. Now then, if inanimate plants and trees avail themselves of the quality of good ness in order to achieve goodness so how much more should not human beings, who are full of consciousness and awareness, follow what is felicit ous in order to seek felicity? I t is my hope at this time that the circulation and distribution of this scripture will be as unending as the sun and moon, and that the far reaching expanse of the blessings therein will share with Heaven and Earth an eternal greatness. 33 In Buddhism, the other end of realm refers to the place in which the mass es can escape the world of 34 Lubo implies a manmade pond. 35 Weiwu means extremely small things.
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232 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETC H As an immigrant to the United States from China via Taiwan, Ruth Sheng manifests an extraordinary case of east meets west. That meeting has benefitted her own life as well as the various communities with which sheng has become affiliated. After graduate d from the National Taiwan University as a history major in 1969, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she earned a Master of Arts in A rt H istory in 1976 and Master of Library and Information Science in 1978 at Case Western Reserve University Her academic accomplishment s led to positions respectively at Harvard University and Princeton University, where she was in charge of Asian slides and photos collection for supporting research and teaching. Her design of a system to classify and catalogue the visual re sources has allowed the efficient and user friendly access to retrieve the large amount of meterials in both of the collections. In the late 80 s, Sheng moved to Gainesville, Florida with her husband Peter a coastal and oceanographic engineer, and three year old son David In the following decades, she devoted herself to child rearing and community work. She became an active docent at the Harn Museum of Art in the University of Florida, participating in curatorial research, collection development, and va rious educational activities Sheng also founded the Gainesville Chinese School to raise awareness and promote local interest in learning Chinese language and culture. In addition to overseeing the general development of the school, her responsibilities in cluded curriculum design and teaching courses in Chinese language as well as painting and calligraphy. During the 90s, s he taught Chinese language courses at the University of Florida, and was periodically invited to lecture on Chinese art for both academi c classes and community program s pertaining to Chinese culture.
233 In the spring of 2004, Sheng was accepted to the doctoral program at the ool of A rt and A rt history At the same time, she was invited to teach Chinese calligraphy a t the university. Since then, her teaching and research ha ve complement ed each other. Her choice of dissertation topic reflects her lifelong love of studying, teaching and practicing calligraphy Sheng designed her calligraphy class to integrate learning a bout the historical development and aesthetic principles of calligraphy with hands on practice. Through her devotion and enthusiasm, the class ha s successfully produced the beautiful calligraphic works which have been public ly exhibit ed at the end of each semester. For the past three years, Sheng and several of her students were invited to display their work at the International Calligraphy Art Exhibition in Shanghai. Bestowed in the homeland of calligraphy, such recognition affirms that these beautiful cal ligraphic works offer, in large part, a celebration of the success of cross cultural study. Ruth Sheng will continue to devote herself in teaching and research in the field of Chinese calligraphy.