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The Classic of Filial Piety (孝經)

He Zhizhang (賀知章, 659–744), Tang Dynasty (618–907)

Ink on paper, 26 x 265.1 cm, The Museum of the Imperial Collections, Sannomaru-Shōzōkan, Tokyo

       He Zhizhang, courtesy name Jizhen (季真), was a native of present-day Xiaoshan, Zhejiang province. He became chief of the imperial secretariat at the peak of his official career. During the early years of the eighth century, he was a shining star in the capital’s literary circles. Free and easy in temperament, fluent and refined in speech, he was openhearted and popular among his contemporaries. He was very similar in these respects to Zhang Xu, another great master in cursive script, and indeed the two men often worked on calligraphy and poetry over a shared bottle of wine.

       His brush movement, including lifting or pressing the brush, is brisk (and in fact accelerates in the second half of the text, making the latter part of the calligraphy verge on wild cursive), with rapid changes in handling the brush tip at the start and end of the stroke. Overall, the handwriting exhibits a handsome and vibrant style. Works like these led critics to consider his talent to be as great as that of Sun Guoting.

The Classic of Filial Piety
The Classic of Filial Piety

Source: Zhu Guantian, An Epoch of Eminent Calligraphers, Chapter 4 of Chinese Calligraphy / Ouyang Zhongshi et al., translated and edited by Wang Youfen.