Top 10 calligraphy masterpieces of ancient China

By Xu Lin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 11, 2011
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Thousand-character Essay in Cursive Script (《草书千字文》)

Thousand-character Essay in Cursive Script, one of the 'top 10 calligraphy masterpieces of ancient China' by

Thousand-character Essay in Cursive Script

The "Thousand-character Essay in Cursive Script" was written by Zhao Ji (1082-1135), Emperor Huizong in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). He was not a very successful emperor, but a remarkably accomplished poet, painter, calligrapher, and musician.

This wild cursive-script calligraphy works, 1172 x 31.5 cm, consists of 1,000 characters. It was a reading material for children, covering natural science and social knowledge. Completed in 1112, the emperor wrote the essay on a long scroll with golden background patterns painted by imperial painters. The writings and background were perfectly matched, creating this exquisite masterpiece.

The unique style that the emperor developed – slender gold script resembling gold filament, twisted and turned, has exerted far-reaching influence on later generations of calligraphers. His works have become classic models for imitation and study.

This work is now exhibited in the Liaoning Provincial Museum in Shenyang.

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