Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stone Drum Inscription: The Origin of Calligraphic Rules 石鼓文:书法第一法则

The stone drum inscription was honoured by Kang Youwei as ‘the origin of calligraphic rules’. This is with good reasons.
The style of stone drum inscription followed quite closely the style of bronze inscription in the Western Zhou dynasty. It also influenced the small seal script in the Qin dynasty.
In terms of calligraphy, the stone drum inscription deferred bronze inscription in its full and pithy strokes, symmetric and balanced structure and almost square form as well as the ordered broad ways of writing. Compared with bronze inscription, stone drum inscription was even more regular. It adopted the complicated structure of bronze inscription, and its symmetric and plump long strokes and regular ways of writing was adopted later by small seal script. Most characters were in form of horizontal rectangle. They were ordered, solid, solemn and imposing. It primitive beauty impressed people of all generations.
Calligraphers believe that stone drum inscription set up the criterion for large seal script which is precursor of small seal script. Apparently, stone drum inscription was the transitional form between bell inscription and stone inscription, between large seal script and small seal script. With it plump, strong and pithy style, it was considered as important model for practicing seal script by calligraphers from all times. Hence it gained the honour ‘the origin of calligraphic rules’.
The Qing dynasty had witnessed the greatest influence of stone drum inscription on Chinese calligraphy. Masters of seal script, Yang Yisun and Wu Changshuo, formed their own style based on the style of stone drum inscription.
The great historical significance of stone drum inscription was in its strokes, rules of writing and artistic conception that had provided reference for later calligraphy.
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石鼓文被康有为赞为‘书法第一法则’,那是基于很好的理由的。
石鼓文的字体,相当大程度上传承了西周金文,又对秦代小篆有很大的影响。
以书法来看,与金文不同的是它的笔法饱满而含蓄,结字对称与均衡,略趋方正,章法整齐开阔,与金文相比,石鼓文更加规范。它采取了金文繁复的结构,而其均称圆润的长笔与规整的写法又为小篆所吸收。其字体多为横向长方形,整齐、凝重、严肃与堂皇。其朴素之美,给后人留下深刻印象。
书法家相信石鼓文为大篆设下了标准,又成为小篆的先导。看来石鼓文是金文与石刻文、大篆与小篆间的过渡文字。其圆润、健壮与含蓄的书体,为历代书家临摹篆书最重要范本。所以能够赢得‘书法第一法则’之美誉。
清代受石鼓文影响最大。篆书大书法家杨沂孙、吴昌硕就是基于石鼓文而形成自己的风格。
石鼓文在历史上重要的意义在于其笔法、章法与意境为后代书法提供了借鉴。

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