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.
Beis and mu zhi mings (hereafter “bei zhi”) have been major media of calligraphic styles since their appearance. Bei zhis have a format consisting of “ti e/gai,” usually written in Zhuan shu style, and “body text,” written in a single writing style. However, a detailed look at bei zhi in the Tang period revealed the existence of a different category of bei zhi, which was distinguished by the use of a different writing style in some parts of the text. Defining these cases as the “combined use of more than one writing style,” this article examines how examples of the combined use of writing styles are classified into different types, what the significances of this phenomenon are, and where it is positioned in the history of calligraphic styles in the Tang period.
The results reveal the presence of three types of combined use of more than one writing style. Additionally, there were certain rules for combining writing styles in body text and intentional choice of writing styles was already common to a certain degree. It is considered that different writing styles were used with the intention to emphasize a relevant part, indicating a situation when the practice of writing styles centered on paleography was already well-diversified. Accordingly, the combined use of more than one writing style is positioned to represent the development of choices with respect to writing in rough with a brush on a stone tablet in bei zhi.
Furthermore, the combined use of more than one writing style is also interpreted as a measure to demonstrate the existence of individual calligraphers and a means of expression in creating bei zhi. These acts are recognized signs of the upcoming development of new calligraphic expressions in the Song period and provide significant insights in elucidating “changes in the Tang-Song transitional period” in calligraphy.
This article tries to construct “A History of Japanese calligraphic theories.” When observed from the perspective of the history of calligraphic theories, calligraphic theories in Japan have three distinctive periods: “budding of calligraphic theories” in the early Heian period, “establishment of the theory of Jubokudo” from the late Heian to the Nanbokucho periods, and “prosperity of the theory of Karayo” in the Edo period. In the process of writing the article titled “An Introduction to the History of Japanese Calligraphic Theories” based on these three periods, the following three themes were identified:
1. Systematization of calligraphic theories in the Mid-Ancient/Middle ages centered on the theory by the Sesonji family
2. Relevance between calligraphic theories in the Mid-Ancient/Middle ages and those in the Early-Modern age
3. Relationship between the theories of Wayo and Karayo in the Early-Modern age
This article addresses the first theme—systematization of calligraphic theories in the Mid-Ancient/Middle ages centered on the theory by the Sesonji family. Focusing on Yakaku Shosatsusho written by the 8th head of the Sesonji family Yukiyoshi Fujiwara and its supposed source text Yakaku Teikinsho written by Koreyuki Fujiwara, the 6th head of the family, this article discusses the differences between the two texts and illustrates the nature of Yakaku Shosatsusho as a plainer version of the calligraphic theory by the Sesonji family. In contrast, Shinteisho by Tsunetomo Fujiwara or the 9th head of the family, remained a mere list of formalities and old practices, revealing the situation that the familyʼs calligraphic theory had fallen into formalization. It is inferred that the stereotypical view of Japanese calligraphic theories such as “humble books of hijisodens preaching family calligraphy with a list of formalities and old practices” originates mainly from their emasculation following Shinteisho.
The author intends to continue dealing with other themes such as the relevance between calligraphic theories in the Mid-Ancient/Middle ages and those in the Early-Modern age, as well as relationship between the theories of Wayo and Karayo in the Early-Modern age, to complete “A History of Japanese calligraphic theories” from the perspective of “Identifying the aesthetics of the Japanese people.”
The Sesonji-ke, who traditionally served as clerks of the Imperial Court, are recognized as a family of nosho. The style of calligraphy from the founder Yukinari Fujiwara to the 17th and last head Yukisue, is recognized as Sesonji-ryu. Before passing it down to other schools such as Jimyoin-ryu and Shorenin-ryu, successive heads of Sesonji-ke had left a number of Jubokudo Denshos as kakis. Among them, Yakaku Teikinsho by the 6th head Koreyuki and Saiyosho, a kuden of Norinaga Fujiwara written by the 7th head Koretsune, are well known. A list of these denshos is included in Jubokudo Densho Mokuroku written by Tadaaki Mori.
Tadaaki Mori served the Edo bakufu as a yuhitsu and wrote many books on calligraphy, including Shodokun. Jubokudo Densho Mokuroku, in which Tadaaki sorted the “hishos” of Jubokudo that his great-great-grandfather Noriaki had handed down from Motosada Jimyoin, listed the titles of 124 Jimyoin-ke denshos and 47 Sesonji-ke denshos. Though many of these denshos are believed to be lost, a certain number of them have been preserved as Kokubungaku Kenkyushiryokan Denpanbunko (old Tayasu Tokugawa-ke documents). While these documents are transcribed versions made during and after the mid-Edo period, many of their titles are identical to those listed in the Mokuroku, making it possible to obtain details of the written instruction material of the time. However, the titles listed in Jubokudo Densho Mokuroku are somewhat confusing and include duplications. For this reason, the author sorts and categorizes the contents before comparing them with relevant material existing in various places in order to uncover the changes in contents of instructions. At the same time, since the Mokuroku is included in Nihonshogaen, edited by Kokushokankokai, which allows for correction of errors in transcription and typography as well, the Mokuroku has been reprinted with variorums.
This article tries to clarify the position of calligraphy in the history of the movement to found art museums in the Meiji period. While there are some preceding studies on the history of the movement to found art museums such as the discussions of Boku Shogen, there are none which discuss the theme from the perspective of calligraphy.
With the advent of the Meiji period, the government encouraged nationalistic art, thus provoking objections from Western-style painters that triggered the movement to found art museums. After an exhibition site was torn down, artists themselves developed the movement, actively urged by the sense of crisis. However, very few calligraphers participated.
After the idea of painting and calligraphy was replaced by the idea of “art” in the early Meiji period, the position of calligraphy remained officially undefined. Accordingly, no sections were spared for calligraphy at National Industrial Exhibitions or at annual art exhibitions sponsored by the Ministry of Education for some years. On the other hand, exhibitions and associations organized solely for calligraphy began to appear around the mid-Meiji period, including Rikusho Kyokai and Dainippon Sensho Shoreikai, which directed themselves toward “art.” In particular, Dainippon Sensho Shoreikai intended to construct “Teikoku Shodokan” and engaged itself in the movement to found art museums in cooperation with other art organizations. Though such efforts are noteworthy as they worked for the independence of calligraphy and its participation in the realm of art at the same time, no detailed discussions have been made to date. This article examines the environment of calligraphy in the Meiji period and illustrates the coexistence of both old and new, where some individuals and organizations developed activities to participate in “art” while traditional shogakais and miyabikais or exhibitions and parties of painting and calligraphy in the Edo style were still active.
Ryokan (1758-1831), a Zen monk in the Edo period, is famous for his masterpieces such as “Hifumi, Iroha” and “Tenjotaifu.” However, his other large-scale work, “Judoku Goshasho” written on a large piece of paper (62.5 centimeters long and 329.4 centimeters wide) in large letters as high as 25 centimeters, remains relatively unknown.
After its introduction in Ryokansama Meihinten published in 1963, “Judoku Goshasho” disappeared from all following collections of Ryokan works and exhibitions. However, once it was listed in Ryokan Ibokushu, published by Tankosha Publishing Co. Ltd. in 2015 and exhibited after an interval of half a century at the exhibition “Jiaino Hito Ryokan” held at Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art in September the same year, the work attracted wide attention. “Judoku Goshasho” is also noticeable as it was obtained by an artist Rosanjin Kitaokoji (1883-1959) in 1938, who, inspired by the work, completed “Ryokan Shibyobu” written in large kaisho letters in 1941.
Against the traditional view that Rosanjin was deeply attached to Ryokan around 1938, reviews of Rosanjinʼs works listed in his collections of works revealed that he was already interested in Ryokan before 1927. After drawing a series of works which show his obsession to Ryokan, however, Rosanjin freed himself from the influence of calligraphies by Ryokan and completed “Iroha Byobu” with his original style in 1953 at the age of 70. This article concludes that Rosanjin’s “Iroha Byobu” is a result of close and detailed study of Ryokanʼs “Judoku Goshasho” by his side.