Friday, October 15, 2010

Chu Suiliang 褚遂良

Chu Suiliang (597–658) was one of the greatest calligraphers in early Tang Dynasty. Chu Suiliang was born in 597, during the reign of Emperor Wen of Sui. His father Chu Liang had been a mid-level official during both Chen Dynasty and Sui Dynasty, and was known for his literary abilities. Chu Liang was in charge of court protocol matters in the Sui Dynasty together with Ouyang Xun, a famous calligrapher. He provided a good condition for his son to learn calligraphy.
Chu Suiliang 褚遂良
By 636, when Li Shimin had been emperor for 10 years as Emperor Taizong, Chu Suiliang was serving as a low-level official in the imperial archival bureau, when he was put in charge of recording Emperor Taizong's acts for historical records. In 644, when Emperor Taizong, at an imperial gathering, stated to his key officials their strengths and weaknesses, he spoke, with regard to Chu:
‘Chu Suiliang is knowledgeable and firm. He often submitted faithful advice and is close to my heart, just as a delicate bird that deserves tender treatment.’
Chu Suilang became one of Taizong’s trusted officers and was promoted to be Head of the Legislative Bureau. After Taizong’s death, Zhangsun Wuji and Chu Suiliang worked well together and were effective in assisting Emperor Gaozong in governance, and that therefore, early in Emperor Gaozong's reign, the government was as effective as during the reign of Emperor Taizong. Later due to his strong objection to Gaozong’s decision to make Wu Zetian his new empress, Chu was not entrusted with heavy responsibility. He passed away shortly in 658.
In calligraphy, Chu Suiliang was able to learn from difficult styles and took the advantage to create his own style. According to the history, he had learned from Ouyang Xun, Yu Shinan successively and later was influenced by Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi’s calligraphy. His calligraphy is known as ‘Chu Style Calligraphy’.
Some of the famous calligraphic works by Chu Suiliang are Notes for Yinque Buddhist Niche, Stele Inscriptions for Master Meng and Preface for Sacred Instruction in Tower of Wild Goose.

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