Friday, June 18, 2010
Empress Wu Zetian 武则天
Empress Wu Zetian (623-705) is the only female Emperor in the history of China. Just as other emperors of the Tang dynasty, the Empress was a patron of arts, a great admirer of calligraphy and, one may say, an accomplished calligrapher herself. She lived to be 82, and held power for 50 years.
She entered the palace at the age of 14 and was initially conferred the title of ‘Cairen’ (concubine of medium rank), but was unable to win much favour with Emperor Taizong. Emperor Taizong's son, Li Zhi, however, was deeply infatuated with her. After the death of Taizong in 649, Li Zhi was enthroned as Gaozong and Wu Zetian became empress in 655. Since Li Zhi had poor health, Wu Zetian was the actual ruler of the country. When Li Zhi died, Wu Zetian managed to stabilize the political situation based on her abundant experience of political intrigue. In 690, Wu Zetian ascended the throne and changed the name of the dynasty to Zhou.
The stele was carved in the sixth lunar month in the year 699 and is currently kept in the Deity Temple at the Gou Mountain in Yanshi City, Henan Province. It comprises 34 lines with 66 words per line. The stele’s title, which comprises 6 bigger words, was written in Flying White (feibai) style. The Flying White style is said to be created by Zhong Yao (151-230). However, there was no calligraphy of Flying White survived today. These six words in Flying White style were the only survived work today.
这块碑刻于699年六月，现存于河南省偃师县缑山仙君庙。共有行草书三十四行，每行六十六字。有飞白书碑额书‘升仙太子之碑’六大字。飞白书据说为钟繇 (151－230) 所创，但并无墨迹传世，这六个字是目前所知仅有的飞白体墨迹。