It can be inferred at first sight that there is a close relationship between the version of the Shiqi tie 十七帖 held by the Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (hereafter Hong Kong version) and the Mitsui 三井 version, but there is no generally accepted theory about the relationship between these two versions. Wang Zhuanghong 王壮弘 has asserted that the Mitsui version is a reproduction of the Hong Kong version, while Wang Yuchi 王玉池 considers both to have been produced from the same woodblocks, with the Mitsui version having further “developed” the characteristics of lifting the brush between strokes (duanbi 断筆) and regularity of brush strokes. He Biqi 何碧琪 also considers both to have been produced from the same woodblocks and suggests that the differences between them arose because the Mitsui version was “retouched” or “re-inked.”
The main new findings obtained through the investigations described in this articles are as follows. (1) In view of the fact that not only do the scratches and cracks coincide in both versions, but the grooves of the carved strokes that happen to have been preserved in the rubbings also tally, it is obvious that both were produced from the same woodblocks, and the view that the Mitsui version is a reproduction of the Hong Kong version is wrong. (2) Some of the reasons for the differences that have arisen between the strokes in both versions lie in each version, but most of the differences are due to the ink and whitewash that were applied to the Hong Kong version. (3) The lifting of the brush between strokes, which stands out in the Mitsui version, is all the more noticeable because of measures taken to reduce it in the Hong Kong version, and claims by Chinese scholars that the Mitsui version has marred the intent of the original woodblocks are untenable. (4) Among Japanese scholars it has been argued that, while the lifting of the brush between strokes in the Mitsui version is unnatural, it was deliberately trace-copied to clarify the brushwork or else is a reflection of the intent of the original woodblocks, but this is a misconception based on a dearth of information about the Ueno 上野 version with which the Mitsui version has been compared, and the lifting of the brush between strokes can be widely seen in other versions too, notwithstanding differences of degree and frequency, and is by no means a reflection of aims peculiar to the Mitsui version. (5) The lifting of the brush between strokes is a technique that can be seen already around the time of the Western Jin, and since it may be considered to represent one aspect of Wang Xizhi's 王羲之 universal calligraphic techniques, the lifting of the brush between strokes in the Mitsui version preserves to a high degree the state of the original woodblocks and one aspect of Wang Xizhi's calligraphy.
I have been examining Yan Zhenqing 顔真卿 of the Tang from the perspective of the reception of works of calligraphy in later times, and in my article “Sō-Gen jidai no ʻGan Shinkeiʼ” 宋元時代の「顔真卿」(“ʻYan Zhenqingʼ in the Song-Yuan period”; in Kokusai shogaku kenkyū / 2000 国際書学研究／2000, Tokyo: Kayahara Shobō 萱原書房, 2000), focusing on the Song-Yuan period, I examined accounts of Yan Zhenqing in abridged histories, his ancestral temple (Yan Lu Gong ci 顔魯公祠 ), his calligraphic works recorded in historical sources, and their assessment. In this article, I take up the assessment of his works, focusing in particular on the three phrases “silkworm heads and swallow tails” (cantou yanwei 蚕頭燕尾), “sinews of Yan, bones of Liu,” and zhuanzhou 篆籀 (seal script), and adding some new materials, I reexamine their usage during the Song and consider their dissemination and changes in their usage from the Ming period onwards.
As a result, I clarify the following points. (1) Usage of the expression “silkworm heads and swallow tails” to describe the characteristics of Yan Zhenqingʼs calligraphy appears from the Northern Song, although this characterization was rejected in contemporary treatises on calligraphy; from the Ming period onwards it came to be used to describe the distinguishing features of the style of calligraphy in which he excelled, and in addition there are examples of its use from the Song period to comment on his clerical script (lishu 隷書). (2) The phrase “sinews of Yan, bones of Liu” referred to the calligraphic skills of Yan Zhenqing and Liu Gongquan 柳公権 and was not an assessment of Yan Zhenqingʼs calligraphy; although some instances of “sinews” being linked to Yan Zhenqingʼs calligraphy appear from the Southern Song and extend to the Ming, they are few in number, and examples of the use of this phrase in its initial meaning are also found from the Ming period onwards. (3) There are examples of the use of the term zhuanzhou in the Song, but it is questionable whether it was used in its present-day sense of explaining the provenance of Yan Zhenqingʼs calligraphy; examples of its use in its current meaning appear in the Yuan period and increase from the Ming period onwards. In addition, I point out that background factors in these changes in the usage of these terms and their entrenchment may have been the existence of the Yanshi jiamiao bei 顔氏家廟碑 and other works in regular script, references to which increase rapidly from the Ming period onwards, and the fact that there were few Song rubbings of Yan Zhenqingʼs works that might serve as benchmarks and people were seeing many rubbings from the Ming period onwards.
In this article, I examine the nature of bibliographic records of calligraphic rubbings based on a grasp of their distinguishing characteristics as source material and give an outline of the preparation of bibliographic records and underlying ideas that I have been putting into practice at the University of Tokyo Library, to which I am affiliated, when making the Libraryʼs calligraphic rubbings publicly accessible.
The principal distinguishing characteristic of calligraphic rubbings as source material is the multilayeredness of responsibility. The responsibilities of many people from different periods accrue during the course of creating a calligraphic rubbing, and in research importance must be given to both the individuality and commonalities conferred on the material by these multiple responsibilities. But judging from precedents for bibliographic records of calligraphic rubbings―such as bibliographic records based on the Nippon (Japanese) Cataloging Rules, catalogues of Chinese books, metadata elements used in the main collections of rubbings in Japan, and the “Cataloging Rules for Chinese Rubbings” prescribed by the National Library of China―a form of bibliographic description that takes due account of the multilayeredness of responsibility has not yet been realized.
Meanwhile, it is worth noting that in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records endorsed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions it is reported that bibliographic records require functions for recording four attributes, namely, work, expression, manifestation, and item. However, because the locus of responsibility for each attribute cannot be recorded in this model, I have not applied it as it is to calligraphic rubbings and have only referred to its underlying ideas.
Taking the above observations into account, in this article I propose metadata elements that are divided into the five strata of work, version, materialization, item, and data and make it possible to record the multilayeredness of responsibility with a certain degree of accuracy.
In this article, I take up the stele commemorating Emperor Taiwuʼs eastern tour (“Taiwudi dongxun bei” 太武帝東巡碑 ; Tianxing 天興 1 ), said to be located in Yixian 易県 , Hebei province, and the stele commemorating Emperor Wenchengʼs southern tour (“Wenchengdi nanxun bei” 文成帝南巡碑; Heping 和平 2 ), which currently stands in the grounds of the temple Jueshansi 覚山寺 in Lingqiu 霊丘 county, Shanxi province. Both steles date from the period when Pingcheng 平城 (present-day Datong 大同 in Shanxi province) was the capital of the Northern Wei, and they were erected to commemorate imperial tours and extol the emperorʼs rule.
In prior research, interest has focused on the contents of the inscriptions as viewed from a historical perspective, and the examination of their calligraphic style and the shape of the steles has been inadequate. In 2016 I conducted an on-site investigation of the “Wenchengdi nanxun bei,” and as a result I confirmed that both inscriptions are indicative of the level of contemporary calligraphy and follow the traditional design of steles.
Further, taking into account their location and dates, I explore the aims behind the erection of these steles, that is, what they were intended to convey to whom. As a result, it became clear that both steles were located along important highways and stood at places that were important for subjugating new territories. That is to say, it is to be surmised that they had the aim of informing people both within and without the Northern Wei of the emperorʼs dominion and proclaiming his hegemony. The period when Pingcheng was capital could be said to have been a time when the Northern Wei state, which ruled over northern China by means of military force, needed to establish its legitimacy for governing the Han Chinese. The stele was a form of plastic art meant to be inscribed with outstanding writing and calligraphy and could be said to represent the quintessence of Chinese civilization. The erection of steles would also have had the aim of demonstrating to the Han Chinese that the emperor, who belonged to the non-Han Xianbei 鮮卑 tribe, was imbued with sufficient Han culture to rule over them.
Zhang Yuzhao 張裕釗 was a man of letters and calligrapher of the late Qing who was counted among the four great disciples of Zeng Guofan 曽国藩. In previous research little attention has been paid to details of his activities during the Xianfeng 咸豊 reign (1851–61). In this article, I examine what sort of influences his calligraphy came under during this time.
In section 1 (“Zhang Yuzhaoʼs Family Learning and His Calligraphic Style during His Youth”), I show how Zhang Yuzhao inherited his familyʼs traditions of learning and how his writing of the small regular script (xiaokai 小楷 ) during his early years was based on the regular script of the Tang period. In section 2 (“Zhang Yuzhaoʼs Calligraphy Immediately Prior to His Joining a Private Secretariat”), I show how in his letters to his friend Fan Zhikang 范志熙 Zhang employed a style abounding in strokes of varying thickness, like those of Mi Fu 米芾. In section 3 (“Studying under Zeng Guofan and Joining Hu Linyiʼs Private Secretariat”), I show how Zhang associated with men of letters belonging to the private secretariat (mufu 幕府) of Hu Linyi 胡林翼. In section 4 (“Bureaucrats of the Private Secretariat”), I show how, through his association with Hu Linyi and Wang Shiduo 汪士鐸, Zhang came under the influence of a view of calligraphy centred on the Two Wangs (Wang Xizhi 王羲之 and his son Wang Xianshi 王献之) and the regular script of the Tang. In section 5 (“A Comparison of Zhang Yuzhaoʼs Calligraphic Style during the Xiangfeng and Tongzhi Reigns”), I clarify changes in Zhangʼs calligraphic style from the Xiangfeng reign to the Tongzhi 同治 reign.
On the basis of the above, it may be assumed that the formation of Zhang Yuzhaoʼs calligraphic style was influenced to a considerable degree by his association with Hu Linyi and Wang Shiduo in the formerʼs private secretariat. An examination of handwritten material reveals evidence of the style of Tang-period inscriptions and the Two Wangs in his letters to Zeng Guofan, while in his letters to Fan Zhikang the style of Wang Xizhi and Mi Fu can be observed. Judging from these developments, it would seem that during the Xianfeng reign a view of calligraphy attaching importance to the Two Wangs and the regular script of the Tang can be seen in Zhangʼs calligraphy when he was attached to Hu Linyiʼs private secretariat, but during the Tongzhi reign this imitative stance quickly disappeared and his calligraphy came to show the influence of the calligraphic styles of Zeng Guofan and Mo Youzhi 莫友芝.
The influx of vast quantities of Chinese painting and calligraphy following the 1911 Revolution has long attracted attention as an epoch-making event in terms of the history of artwork collections and the history of cultural intercourse. Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 (1866-1940), who had moved to Kyoto to escape the upheavals of the Revolution, has been regarded as one of those who played a central role in this influx of Chinese painting and calligraphy into Japan, and he also deserves special mention in view of the fact that he took a lead in publishing photographic reproductions of these works. But prior to the Revolution Luo Zhenyu had made a tour of inspection of Japan in his capacity as an official of the Qing dynasty, and chiefly through his contacts with Japanese living in Tokyo who were well versed in Chinese culture he had managed to view various Chinese artefacts that had come to Japan, such as painting and calligraphy, stone and metal inscriptions, and books. Details of this are recorded in his diary, “Fusang zaiyouji” 扶桑再遊記 (1909).
When analyzing the social network to be seen in this diary, the application of objective methods such as quantification becomes an issue. It would seem that it was the very structure of the network which was formed that had a greater influence on Luo Zhenyuʼs achievements during this visit to Japan than did the nature of his relations with individual Japanese with whom he came into contact. We consider the elucidation of this point to be also indispensable for gaining an understanding of his movements after he settled in Kyoto.
In view of the above, in this article we apply the method of “social network analysis,” a quantitative method of analysis that has proven to be successful in the social sciences, with the aim of clarifying the structural characteristics of Luo Zhenyuʼs network of Japanese acquaintances to be seen in the “Fusang zaiyouji.” We also examine the possibility that the structure of this network may have had an influence on the achievements of his visit to Japan.