Poem in Cursive Script


Poem in Cursive Script

calligraphy / Ming Dynasty / Qing Dynasty / China

By Fu Shan (1607-84)

Place of production:China

Ming-Qing dynasty, 17th century

Ink on satin

194.3 x 48.0 each

Set of four hanging scrolls

Here four poems, each with four lines containing five characters, are written in cursive script. The wild writing contrasts with the exceptionally smooth and luminous silk, creating a work of great strength.
This piece was created by Fu Shan, an artist who worked from the late Ming dynasty through to the early Qing dynasty. Fu Shan was born into a family of scholars, and was so bright that he ranked first among over 300 students by the time he was 30. However, in 1644, when he was 38 years old, the Ming dynasty collapsed. Instead of following the new Qing dynasty, Fu Shan would spend the rest of his life opposing it.
Fu Shan studied traditional calligraphy when he was young, and was known for his beautifully flowing writing. However, as time passed, he grew dissatisfied with the popular emphasis on well-executed and outwardly elegant writing, and became convinced that the most important thing was to move the brush freely. It’s said that he told his own children the following about calligraphy: “Even if you’re unskilled, you cannot give in to technique; even if your writing isn’t outwardly beautiful, do not create beauty which flatters.”

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