M.Phil. / Ph.D. Research

A Study in Zhangcao Script in the Yuan Dynasty


LIU Huahua



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Zhangcao 章草 originated in the Han Dynasty, regarded as a hasty script of the official script, flourished in the Three Kingdoms and Western Jin Dynasty. When jincao 今草 bloomed in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, which was initially created by the Two Wangs二王 and championed by the following literati in a thousand years, however, it also led to a decline of zhangcao. After hundred years of silence in the Tang and Song Dynasties, zhangcao received its second prevalence in the Yuan Dynasty, due to literati’s desired to understand Wang Xizhi’s brushwork by copying a more ancient style of zhangcao. I pay attention to the reinterpretation of classics in the Yuan Dynasty. From the sociocultural point of view, coping classics and writing in classical style during the Yuan Dynasty are behaviors of cultural construction. Driven by the thought of revival, the Yuan generations reinterpreted and molded the classics, nevertheless with their own distinction which was accepted as the convincing history by the people at that time.

The research also focuses on calligraphic appraisal (especially on work verification) due to two considerations: Firstly, abstract concepts such as brushwork in visual materials often make artistic appraisal mysterious and difficult, I thus would like to provide a detailed and intelligible version of the examination of such abstract concepts in traditional Chinese ginalniuzhang calligraphy; secondly, the examination of artistic work’s styles assume an vital part in art history research, thus making it a necessary task for artistic appraisal/verification—which lays the foundation for art history research—to establish a piece of standard work, to examine other works in the context of the standard work, and to document the trace of the development of one style.