Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Han Dynasty: Zhang Zhi 汉:张芝

Zhang Zhi (?-192) was a Chinese calligrapher during the Han Dynasty. Born in Jiuquan, Gansu, he was a pioneer of the modern cursive script.
It is said that Zhang Zhi was so diligent in his calligraphy practice that the pond by his home was turned inky. He even practiced calligraphy on his clothes. These examples testify that the perfection is not the work of a short time. There is a Chinese saying that ‘one-hundred-day effort will not yield result in calligraphy’. That is to say, calligraphy is a lifetime pursuit that cannot be accomplished in one hundred days.
Even Wang Xizhi, the greatest master of calligraphy in Chinese history, said his Cursive calligraphic script was not as good as Zhang Zhi’s. It is therefore no surprise that Zhang Zhi was traditionally honoured as the Sage of Cursive Script.
A catchphrase is attributed to him: ‘Too busy to write cursively’, which shows that the execution of cursive script, though originally invented for the sake of time-saving, requires a tranquil frame of mind.
Unfortunately, there are not many of Zhang Zhi's calligraphic works available today. Guan Jun Tie and Zhong Nian Tie are regarded as Zhang Zhi's calligraphy.
张芝 (?-192) 是中国汉朝书法家。出生于甘肃的酒泉,是草书的先驱者。

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