2011 年 2011 巻 21 号 p. 45-58
The "Twelve Months' Correspondence between Friends" ("Shieryue pengyou xiangwen shu" 十二月朋友相聞書) held by the National Palace Museum in Taipei is an early calligraphic work in cursive script with accompanying transcriptions in small regular characters, and it is also called the "Yueyi tie" 月儀帖, or "Model of Monthly Correspondence." It is said to date from the Tang 唐, and I undertake a reexamination of its date and writer with reference to the quality of the paper, the text, the calligraphic style, and variant characters in the transcription.
The paper is the same paper as that used in copies of Wang Xizhi's 王羲之 "Sangluan tie" 喪亂帖 and "Kong shizhong tie" 孔侍中帖, having vertical guide lines and called zonglianzhi 縱簾紙. Extant examples of this paper are used only in copies made in the seventh to eighth centuries, and therefore it is to be surmised that this manuscript is a copy made in the first half of the Tang.
The text has similarities with part of a letter-writing manual found among the Dunhuang 敦煌 manuscripts. On the basis of Wang Sanqing's 王三慶 geo-historical discussion, the text's terminus ad quem can be placed in the Tianbao 天寶 era. In addition, a text with closer similarities can be found among manuscripts said to have come from Turfan and currently held by Taito Ward Museum of Calligraphy. In view of the connections between these three texts, I assume that this was a text that was popular during the first half of the Tang.
Judging from the calligraphic style of the transcription and the variant characters, I surmise that this work dates from the first half of the Tang. It is a rare example of a transcription written to the left of the text. It is probably one of the oldest examples of a model of cursive writing to which a transcription has been added.
I examined the attribution of the original work to Zhiyong 智永 by comparing it with three versions of his Zhencao Qianziwen 眞草千字文 (Tani 谷 manuscript, Guanzhong 關中 manuscript, and Dunhuang manuscript). I conclude that while it is similar to the calligraphic style of the Zhencao Qianziwen, it cannot be said to be in the same hand.
It is to be surmised on the basis of a comparison with a collection of monthly correspondence (yueyi 月儀) copied by Dong Qichang 董其昌 that, together with the "Yugangzhai momiao" 鬱岡齋墨妙, which I consulted in order to restore the text, and Dong Qichang's copy, the present work is a copy of a rubbing from an album of calligraphic models printed during the Northern Song 宋. On this basis I also produced a provisional chart showing the course of its transmission.