|Courtesy Name:||Qingchen (清臣)|
|Alias:||Yan Pingyuan (顏平原)|
Yan Lugong (顏魯公)
|Posthumous name:||Wenzhong (文忠)|
Yan Zhenqing (simplified Chinese :颜真卿; traditional Chinese :顏真卿; pinyin :Yán Zhēnqīng; Wade–Giles :Yen Chen-ch'ing; 709–785) was a Chinese calligrapher, military general, and politician. He was a leading Chinese calligrapher and a loyal governor of the Tang Dynasty. His artistic accomplishment in Chinese calligraphy is equal to that of the greatest master calligraphers of history, and his regular script style, Yan, is often imitated.
Yan Zhenqing was born in Wannian (萬年), near the Tang capital Chang'an, to a highly reputed academic family which served the court for many generations. One of his ancestors was Yan Zhitui, a scholar-official during the Southern and Northern Dynasties. His great-great grandfather Yan Shigu was a famous linguist while his father Yan Weizhen (顏惟貞) was private tutor to the Tang princes' and a great calligrapher himself. Under the influence of family tradition and the strict instruction of his mother, Lady Yin (殷氏), Yan Zhenqing worked hard from childhood and was well-read in literature and Confucianism.
In 734, at the age of 22, Yan Zhenqing qualified at the national wide imperial examination and was granted the title of Jinshi (a rough equivalent of the modern day doctorate). He then gained the rare opportunity of taking a special imperial examination that was set for candidates with extraordinary talents, again excelling in it. With his outstanding academic background, Yan Zhengqing rose rapidly through the bureaucratic ladder: he was appointed vice-magistrate of Liquan District (醴泉尉), then later Investigating Censor (監察御史) and Palace Censor (殿中侍御史). His uprightness and outspoken style were hailed by the common people, but angered Grand Councilor Yang Guozhong; as a result, in 753, he was sent out of the capital as the governor of Pingyuan Commandery.
By the time Yan Zhenqing took up the post of governor of Pingyuan, the An Shi Rebellion was imminent. With his political sensitivity, Yan Zhenqing immediately started preparing for war by fortifying the city wall and stocking up provisions. He also sent emergency memorial to Emperor Xuanzong, but was ignored.
In December 755, An Lushan and Shi Siming rebelled under the name of removing Yang Guozhong. The ill-prepared Tang government troops retreated with little resistance from all the prefectures in Heshuo (河朔) area (which includes the present day provinces of Shandong, Hebei and Henan); only Yan Zhenqing's Pingyuan sustained through. He then combined force with his cousin, Yan Gaoqing (顏杲卿), who was the governor of Changshan (常山太守) (present day Quyang, Hebei), fighting the rebels at their rear. The government in its desperation, promoted Yan Zhenqing to Deputy Minister of Finance (户部侍郎), and conferred him great military power to assist General Li Guangbi (李光弼) in the suppression of the rebellion.
Thereafter Yan's force won several major battles over the rebels, including successfully cutting the rebel supply lines and regaining control over seventeen commands in Heshuo area. In 756, Emperor Suzong ascended the throne and promoted Yan Zhenqing to Minister of Works (工部尚書). Due to poor military deployment by the Tang government, An Lushan managed to attack Hebei by surprise, and Yan Zhenqing reluctantly abandoned his command, returning to the court in 757. He was then appointed Minister of Law (刑部尚書), but his outspokenness against corrupt higher-ranking officials resulted in himself being constantly demoted and re-promoted.
In 764, Emperor Daizong conferred the title of Duke of Lu (魯公) on Yan Zhenqing in recognition of his firm loyalty to the government and bravery during the An Lushan Rebellion. However, his unbending character was resented by the incumbent Grand Councilor, Lu Qi, and cost him his life.
In 773, Yan Zhenqing and a group of friends began work on compiling the (c. 780) Yunhai Jingyuan, which was a 360-volume rime dictionary of literary words that unfortunately became a lost work.
In 784, Li Xilie, the military commissioner of Huaixi (淮西節度使), rebelled. Lu Qi had held a grudge against Yan Zhenqing for a long time, so he sent Yan Zhenqing to negotiate with Li Xilie in the hope that Yan Zhenqing will be killed. As expected, Li Xilie tried all means to coax or threaten Yan Zhenqing to surrender, but Yan Zhenqing never wavered. According to legend, Li Xilie set up a fire in the courtyard and told Yan Zhengqing he would be burnt to death if he did not surrender. Yet Yan Zhenqing did not show the slightest fear and walked towards the fire determinedly. Li Xilie could not help but to show respect to him, and in 785, Yan Zhenqing was secretly strangled at the Longxing Temple (龍興寺) in Caizhou, Henan.
Upon hearing of his death, Emperor Daizong closed the assembly for five days and conferred the posthumous title Wenzhong (文忠) on Yan Zhenqing. He was also widely mourned by the army and the people, and a temple was constructed to commemorate him. In the Song Dynasty, the temple was moved to Shandong and from then on became a key tourist attraction.
Yan Zhenqing is popularly held as the only calligrapher who paralleled Wang Xizhi, the "calligraphy sage" (書聖). He specialized in the regular (kaishu 楷書) and cursive (caoshu 草書) scripts, though he also mastered other styles. His style of regular script, often called Yan script (Yanti 顏體), brought Chinese calligraphy to a new realm, emphasizing strength, boldness, and grandness. Like most of the master calligraphers, Yan Zhenqing learned his skill from various calligraphers, and the development of his personal style can be basically divided into three stages.
Most calligraphers agree Yan Zhenqing's early stage lasted until his fifties. During these years, Yan Zhenqing tried out different techniques and started to develop his personal genre. When he was young, he studied calligraphy under the famous calligraphers Zhang Xu and Chu Suiliang. 魏碑) Style, which originated from Northern nomad minorities and focused on strength and simplicity.Zhang Xu was skilled in Cao Script, which emphasizes the overall composition and flow; Chu Suiliang, on the other hand, was renowned for his graceful and refined Kai Script. Yan Zhenqing also drew inspiration from the Wei Bei (
In 752, he wrote one of his best-known pieces, Duobao Pagoda Stele (多寶塔碑). The stele has 34 lines, each containing 66 characters, and it was written for Emperor Xuanzong who at the time was an extremely pious Buddhis t. The style of the calligraphy was close to that of the early Tang calligraphers, who emphasized elegance and "fancifulness"; yet it also pursued composure and firmness in its brush strokes, structuring characters on powerful frames with tender management on brushline. In 758, he also wrote the influential calligraphy piece Draft of a Requiem to My Nephew (祭姪文稿).
This period ranges from Yan Zhenqing's fifties to sixty-five. During these years, he wrote some famous pieces like Guojia Miao Stele (郭傢廟碑) and Magu Shan Xiantan Ji (痲姑山仙墰記). Having experienced the An Lushan Rebellion and frequent vicissitudes in his civil career, Yan Zhenqing's style was maturing. He increased waist force while wielding the brush, and blended techniques from the zhuan (篆) and li (隷) Scripts into his own style, making the start and ending of his brushline gentler. For individual strokes, he adopted the rule of “thin horizontal and thick vertical strokes”; strokes’ widths were varied to show the curvature and flow, and the dots and oblique strokes were finished with sharp edges. For character structure, Yan style displays squared shape and modest arrangement, with spacious center portion and tight outer strokes; this structure resembles more the more dated Zhuan and Li Scripts. From the point of view of spacing, his characters are compact vertically, leaving relatively more space in between lines. Hence, the emerging Yan style had abandoned the sumptuous trend of early Tang calligraphers: it is rather upright, muscular, fitting, rich and controlled; compared to the style of the early Tang which was sloped, feminine, pretty, slim and capricious.
In the ten years before his death, Yan Zhenqing's calligraphy accomplishment peaked. His style was now established and he continuously improved on each of his works, and completed his magnum opus, the Yan Qinli Stele (顏勤禮碑). At this stage, he was able to fully exhibit his style at will even through a single stroke, and liveliness and passion bubbles under his modest and stately style[ clarification needed ]. He also wrote A Poem to General Pei (裴將軍詩), which was revolutionary for his time as multiple script styles were presented within the same work.
Yan Zhenqing's style assimilated the essence of the previous five hundred years, and almost all the calligraphers after him were more or less influenced by him. In his contemporary period, another great master calligrapher, Liu Gongquan, studied under him, and the much-respected Five-Dynasty Period calligrapher, Yang Ningshi (楊凝式) thoroughly inherited Yan Zhenqing's style and made it even bolder.
The trend of imitating Yan Zhenqing peaked during Song Dynasty. The "Four Grand Masters of the Song" – Su Shi, Huang Tingjian (黃庭堅), Mi Fu (米芾), Cai Xiang – all studied the Yan Style; Su Shi even claimed Yan Zhenqing's calligraphy to be "peerless" throughout history.
After the Song, the popularity of Yan Zhenqing declined slightly, as calligraphers tended towards more abstract ways of expression. However, he still held important status, and many renowned calligraphers, such as Zhao Mengfu (趙孟頫) and Dong Qichang (董其昌) are said to have been inspired by Yan Zhenqing.
In contemporary China, the leading calligraphers like Sha Menghai (沙孟海) and Shen Yinmo conducted extended research on the Yan style, which then regained its popularity. Nowadays almost every[ citation needed ] Chinese calligraphy learner imitates the Yan style when they first pick up the brush, and Yan Zhenqing's influence has also spread to Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia.
Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a pen, ink brush, or other writing instrument. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner".
The history of the Khitans dates back to the 4th century. The Khitan people dominated much of Mongolia and modern Manchuria by the 10th century, under the Liao dynasty, and eventually collapsed by 1125.
Regular script, also called 正楷, 真書 (zhēnshū), 楷體 (kǎitǐ) and 正書 (zhèngshū), is the newest of the Chinese script styles. It is the most common style in modern writings and third most common in publications.
The An Lushan Rebellion was an uprising against the Tang dynasty of China towards the mid-point of the dynasty, with an attempt to replace it with the Yan dynasty. The rebellion was originally led by An Lushan, a general officer of the Tang military system. The event involved military activity and direct deaths from battle, but also significant associated population loss from famine, and population dislocations. The event is also known, especially in Chinese historiography, either as the An–Shi Rebellion or as the An–Shi Disturbances. The use of the term luàn indicates the huge amount of social disturbance and population loss eventually involved, way beyond the initial consequences of the rebellion.
Guo Ziyi, posthumously Prince Zhōngwǔ of Fényáng (汾陽忠武王), was the Tang dynasty general who ended the An Lushan Rebellion and participated in expeditions against the Uyghur Khaganate and Tibetan Empire. He was regarded as one of the most powerful Tang generals before and after the Anshi Rebellion. After his death he was deified in Chinese folk religion as the God of Wealth and Happiness.
An Lushan or An Lu-shan was a general in the Tang dynasty and is primarily known for instigating the An Lushan Rebellion.
The Stele Forest or Beilin Museum is a museum for steles and stone sculptures in Beilin District in Xi'an, China. The museum, which is housed in a former Confucian Temple, has housed a growing collection of Steles since 1087. By 1944 it was the principal museum for Shaanxi province. Due to the large number of steles, it was officially renamed the Forest of Stone Steles in 1992. Altogether, there are 3,000 steles in the museum, which is divided into seven exhibitions halls, which mainly display works of calligraphy, painting and historical records.
Chinese calligraphy is the writing of Chinese characters as an art form, combining purely visual art and interpretation of the literary meaning. This type of expression has been widely practiced in China and has been generally held in high esteem across East Asia. Calligraphy is considered as one of the four most-sought skills and hobbies of ancient Chinese literati, along with playing stringed musical instruments, the board game "Go", and painting. There are some general standardizations of the various styles of calligraphy in this tradition. Chinese calligraphy and ink and wash painting are closely related: they are accomplished using similar tools and techniques, and have a long history of shared artistry. Distinguishing features of Chinese painting and calligraphy include an emphasis on motion charged with dynamic life. According to Stanley-Baker, "Calligraphy is sheer life experienced through energy in motion that is registered as traces on silk or paper, with time and rhythm in shifting space its main ingredients." Calligraphy has also led to the development of many forms of art in China, including seal carving, ornate paperweights, and inkstones.
Japanese calligraphy also called shūji (習字) is a form of calligraphy, or artistic writing, of the Japanese language. For a long time, the most esteemed calligrapher in Japan had been Wang Xizhi, a Chinese calligrapher from the 4th century, but after the invention of Hiragana and Katakana, the Japanese unique syllabaries, the distinctive Japanese writing system developed and calligraphers produced styles intrinsic to Japan. The term shodō is of Chinese origin as it is widely used to describe the art of Chinese calligraphy during the medieval Tang dynasty.
Liu Gongquan, courtesy name Chengxuan (誠懸), a great yash Chinese calligrapher. Liu Gongquan was famous for regular script (楷書) especially, who is one of the 4 calligraphic masters of regular script in China. Other three is Yan Zhenqing, Ouyang Xun and Zhao Mengfu.
Korean calligraphy, also known as Seoye, is the Korean tradition of artistic writing. Calligraphy in Korean culture involves both Hanja and Hangul.
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Cursive script, often mistranslated as grass script, is a script style used in Chinese and East Asian calligraphy. Cursive script is faster to write than other styles, but difficult to read for those unfamiliar with it. It functions primarily as a kind of shorthand script or calligraphic style. People who can read standard or printed forms of Chinese or related scripts may not be able to read this script.
Chén Xīliè was an official of the Chinese Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong. During the An Shi Rebellion, he surrendered to An Lushan and served as chancellor of An's state of Yan at Luoyang. After Tang forces recaptured Luoyang, he was forced to commit suicide.
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Zhang Gao (張鎬), courtesy name Congzhou (從周), formally the Duke of Pingyuan (平原公), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Suzong. He was known for his blunt suggestions, which eventually led to his removal as chancellor.
Li Zhongchen, né Dong Qin (董秦), was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty who was known, for most of his career, as both a supporter of the imperial cause but also a corrupt and violent military governor (Jiedushi). He was later expelled by his own army and, because of his service to imperial causes, kept by Emperor Daizong and Emperor Dezong as an official at the Tang capital Chang'an. In 783, he joined Zhu Ci's rebel Qin state, and after Zhu's defeat in 784 was captured and executed.
Lu Qi (盧杞), courtesy name Ziliang (子良), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Dezong. He was characterized as treacherous and selfish in traditional histories, and traditional historians blamed him for provoking the rebellions of Zhu Ci and Li Huaiguang, which greatly weakened the Tang state.
Also known as Gan in Hokkien or Ngan in Cantonese. This was the 112th most common surname in the People's Republic of China in 2008, shared by around 1.7 million citizens.
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