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Cursive Script: Copy and Practice Sun Guoting's Treatise on Calligraphy VCD

  • Cursive Script Sun Guoting's Treatise on Calligraphy
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Cursive Script: Copy and Practice Sun Guoting's Treatise on Calligraphy
- Coping and Practicing Calligraphy of Past Dynasties Series
Instructor: Li Hongzhi
Language: Mandarin Chinese
Published by Beijing Zhonglutongfang Audio-Visual Publishing House, 2005
Media: VCD
ISBN: 7880107045

The cursive script (sometimes called grass script, cursive hand) is a fully cursive script according to certain rules. With drastic simplifications requiring specialized knowledge; a person who can read the semi-cursive script cannot be expected to read the cursive script without training. Entire characters may be written without lifting the brush from the paper at all, and characters frequently flow into one another. Strokes are modified or eliminated completely to facilitate smooth writing and to create a beautiful, abstract appearance although like irregular. Characters are highly rounded and soft in appearance, with a noticeable lack of angular lines. Due to the drastic simplification and ligature involved, this script is not considered particularly legible to the average person, and thus has never achieved widespread use beyond the realm of literati calligraphers.

Cursive script originated in China during the Han dynasty through Jin Dynasty period, in two phases. First, an early form of cursive developed as a cursory way to write the popular and not yet mature clerical script. Faster ways to write characters developed through four mechanisms: omitting part of a graph, merging strokes together, replacing portions with abbreviated forms (such as one stroke to replace four dots), or modifying stroke styles. This evolution can best be seen on extant bamboo and wooden slats from the period, on which the use of early cursive and immature clerical forms is intermingled. This early form of cursive script, based on clerical script, is now called zhāngcǎo, and variously also termed ancient cursive, draft cursive or clerical cursive in English, to differentiate it from modern cursive (jīncǎo). Modern cursive evolved from this older cursive in the Wei Kingdom to Jin dynasty with influence from the semi-cursive and standard styles. Beside zhāngcǎo and the "modern cursive", there is the "wild cursive" (kuángcǎo) which is even more cursive and illegible. It was developed by Zhang Xu and Huai Su in Tang dynasty.

The most representative works in cursive script: Seventeen Book of Models of Handwriting by Wang Xizhi, Treatise on Calligraphy by Sun Guoting, A Model of Four Ancient Poems by Zhang Xu, Auto-biography by Huai Su.

Sun Guoting (646–691), or Sun Qianli, was a Chinese calligrapher of the early Tang Dynasty, remembered for his cursive calligraphy and his Treatise on Calligraphy (ca. 687). The work was the first important theoretical work on Chinese calligraphy, and has remained important ever since, though only its preface survived. The preface is the only surviving calligraphic work of Sun, therefore it is responsible for both Sun's reputation as an artist and as a theorist. The original handscroll can be seen at the National Palace Museum, in Taipei, Taiwan.

Having survived in its original manuscript, this essay is also a classical work of cursive script. “Among those who were after Wang Xizhi's cursive style during the Tang, Sun was matchless,” praised Mi Fu, one of Four Song Masters.






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