2020 Volume 2020 Issue 30 Pages 1-23,160
Despite a long history of research into the casting methods used for Jinwen in the Yin Zhou period—with a variety of hypotheses suggested to date—the actual methods used remained unclear. In light of this situation, the author has conducted multiple casting experiments with the cooperation of the Ashiyagamanosato Museum for the purpose of elucidating the casting methods used for Jinwen. This paper reports the results of the experiments and gives several preconsiderations against the background of changes in the lettering style used on Jinwen from the perspective of casting techniques.
The results of our experiments conducted revealed that the so-called slip method, in which slip is applied repeatedly using a brush onto a plate buried in a core, most logically answers the questions about the casting methods used for Jinwen. Historically, this method was first suggested by RUAN Yuan of the Qing dynasty; in a sense, our experiments proved the validity of his suggestion after more than 200 years. Based on the success of our experiments in indicating the technical logicality of the burial method, the author also suggests that the casting method used for Jinwen introduced in this paper be named the “slip-plate method.”
The experiment results do not rule out the possibility of other Jinwen casting methods. On the contrary, variations in technique are very likely depending on locations and time periods. During the Eastern Zhou period, some Jinwen letterings deviated from the typical Western Zhou style to show a significant proximity to the Zhuanshu style. These changes in lettering style suggest the historical background of changes in the casting method used from the slurry-plate to the model-carving method.
Based on the above findings, further detailed examination of variations in Jinwen lettering styles is awaited in order to obtain detailed knowledge about the dissemination of the lettering culture during the Yin Zhou period along with the actual prevailing conditions. This will be an extremely important and significant research theme not only with respect to the history of the technique, but also for the histories of calligraphy and palaeography.