2018 Volume 2018 Issue 28 Pages 1-14,104
Grading by “pin” was integrated in the form of “Xing san pin shuo” by the Dong Zhong shu school in the Han period, before being adopted by the government for employment and promotion under the name “Jiu pin zhong zheng System.” Since then, similar grading systems based on “pin” have been used in various fields, with the Shu pin by Yu Jian wu being one of the first among them. Several critical writings based on “pin” were subsequently published in rapid succession; extant studies have focused on the differences between Shu pin by Yu Jian wu and Shi pin by Zhong Rong.
Shi pin by Zhong Rong explains that “qi” triggers the “xing qing” of a person into motion and encourages the person to sing and dance, evoking poetry. In other words, Shi pin argues that “qi” determines the grade of a text, a theory based on the chapter Yue ji of Li ji and Lun wen of Dian lun by Cao Pi.
Shu pin introduces the grading ideas of “tian ran” and “gong fu” to determine “pin,” an approach that contrasts significantly with the Shi pin of Zhong Rong, who develops his theory around the idea of “qi.” Previous studies have indicated that the concepts of “tian ran” and “gong fu” were shaped by the influence of preceding theories of calligraphy.
This article attempts to establish the origin of “tian ran” and “gong fu” in terms of character assessment. Furthermore, it redefines Shu pin as an activity of qing tan practiced throughout the six-dynasty period, and concludes that Yu Jian wu wrote Shu pin, influenced by qing tan.