Thursday, March 4, 2010
Zhi Yong 智永
Fast forwarded to Sui dynasty that was founded in 581 AD. During this period, the society flourished in every aspect, including calligraphy. However, calligraphy of the Sui dynasty, represented by Zhi Yong, was really just a transition from one high point in Wei Jin dynasties to another in Tang dynasty.
Zhi Yong’s calligraphic works were first known by people in the Chen period (557 – 589) of the Southern Dynasties and became very famous in the Sui dynasty. So his calligraphy is considered to be part of Sui calligraphy. He was also famed by his student, Yu Shinan, a great calligrapher in Tang Dynasty.
Zhi Yong became a monk when he was very young and lived a seclude life in Yongxing Temple for 30 years. During that period, he got up early every morning and prepared a large grail of calligraphy ink to practice in Wang Xizhi’s model calligraphic works. He was good at regular script and cursive script. His work in regular script was brisk and yet precise, and his cursive style was free and firm.
His famous calligraphic work is ‘The Thousand-Character Essay in Regular and Cursive Scripts’ (Zhencao Qianziwen). It is said to be a piece from heaven, and is widely used by calligraphy learners as a model book.