Friday, July 29, 2011

Zhou Huijun 周慧珺

Zhou Huijun is certainly a master calligrapher in contemporary China, but the puzulling fact is that she is hardly known by anyone nowadays. She is perhaps due to her low-key personality.
Zhou Huijun, a native of Zhenhai of Zhejiang Province, was born in December 1939. She was the vice-chairman of China Calligraphers’ Association, vice-chairman of Shanghai Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and chairman of Shanghai Calligraphers’ Association. Currently she is the honorable chairman of China Calligraphers’ Association and Shanghai Calligraphers’ Association.
Zhou was brough up a merchant family which valued education and learning. She learned Chinese calligraphy since she was young. However, her father who loved Chinese calligraphy and painting, did not pay too much attention to her study, so she was given a free hand to study what she liked.  It was unfornate that she had rheumatoid arthritis at very young age which caused her joints to become swollen, stiff and painful. This had affected her learning of calligraphy. However, this did not deter her; instead it motivated her to work harder.
In 1974, Zhou published a book on ‘Calligraphic Works on Running Script – Selected Poems by Lu Xun’. The book was re-printed four times within a year and more than a million copies were printed. This has set a new record for the highest initial print run of any Chinese calligraphy book. Some readers commented that after reading the book in detail, it was hard to believe that it was written by a weak lady who was seriously ill. Zhou had finally overcome the adverse conditions and achieved great success in her works.
In learning calligraphy, her father wanted her to start with the Zhao stye (the calligraphy of Zhao Mengfu), but she was only fond of Mi Fu’s calligraphy. In 1975, Zhou entered the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy and became a professional calligrapher. Like a thirsty steed dashing to the spring, she started her Chinese calligraphy study and research in the real sense. She studied each and every Chinese writing scripts, such as the standard, cursive, seal, and clerical scripts, the scripts in large and small characters, etc. In terms of calligraphic styles, started on the firm foundation of Tie (calligraphy of rubbing), she also extended her practice to include Northen Wei’s stele inscriptions, calligraphy on bamboo slips and silk, covered from model calligraphic works of Jin and Tang to those of Ming and Qing dynasty. After absorbing and learning from strong points and advantages of various caliigraphers, she finally developed her own style.


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