Thursday, September 17, 2009
Zhao Ji: The Emperor Calligrapher 赵佶：皇帝书法家
He was a skilled poet, painter, calligrapher and musician. He sponsored numerous artists at his court, and the catalogue of his imperial painting collection lists over 6,000 known paintings.
Because of his involvement with these pursuits, Huizong neglected the army, and Song China became increasingly weak and at the mercy of foreign enemies. In Jan 1127, the Jin on the northern border entered Bianliang (Kaifeng), the capital of the Northern Song Empire, and captured Huizong, his son Emperor Qinzong, as well as the entire imperial court and harem. In May 1127, Huizong was deported to northern Manchuria, where he spent the last eight years of his life as a captive in the small city of Wuguo (in present-day Yilan County, Heilongjiang Province). He died on 4 June 1135, at the age of fifty-two.
During his 25 years of governing, Zhao Ji was so addicted to calligraphy and art that he devoted little time to knotty political issues. He first made cuju (a prototype of football) star Gao Qiu his chief military commander, and then handed almost all governance to a few treacherous court officials, while he devoted himself to art and culture.
As a ruler he was incompetent, and allowed his officials to make decisions which hastened the demise of his empire, but his artistic talents and achievements were unparalleled. He invented the "Slender Gold" style of calligraphy. The name "Slender Gold" came from the fact that Huizong's writing style, comprising thin and straight strokes, resembled gold filament, twisted and turned.
His horizontal strokes ended with hooks, the vertical strokes with points. His slanting strokes were sharp as knives, and the vertical hooks as slim and tall as a fine young man. His style reflected a pursuit of perfection while obeying regulations. His calligraphy is unconventional and original, the strokes are stretched to their extreme limits and the result is a fascinating dynamism that until today stands out as an independent and striking interpretation of Chinese characters.
This style of calligraphy is a sharp diversion from anything seen before and in a way shows that although Huizong was not very courageous in the battle field, he certainly had the courage to innovate in the field of aesthetics. It can be said that his writing style reflected his rule as his endless pursuit of beauty in form made him overlook the overall setting, indicating that he was deficient in resolution and persistence.
在中国的历史里，很多皇帝爱好书法，其中不少在这门艺术里的成就还是很高的。说到皇帝书法家，使人立刻想到北宋（960-1279）的徽宗赵佶（1082-1135）。他在位于1100 - 1126。