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Huang Tingjian, Master of Pemanship


He was ranked by his followers as the most important of the four younger disciples of Su Shi and as the father of the Jiangxi School of Poetry. He is also considered one of the “Four Great Masters” of Song calligraphy. His career was marred by two banishments due to political association with the conservative faction led by Sima Kuang.

 One masterpiece of Huang Tingjian

Achieving his jinshi degree in 1067, he was assigned a position in Ruzhou, not far from the capital of Northern Song, Kaifeng (Bianqing). Then in 1078 he went to the Imperial Academy in Damingfu in Beijing. In later years he successively held two minor positions in Jizhou, central Jiangxi and Depingzhen, Shandong. Because of his association with the “anti-reform faction,” which included Su Dongpo, he never held a high position. In 1085, “anti-reformers” came to power and Huang was able to return to the capital, where he joined the History Institute, then the Academy of Scholarly Worthies (Imperial Library). However, after the reformers regained their power, he was sent into exile. In 1100 he got a brief reprieve and given a position at Ezhou, Wuhan. He traveled there slowly, arriving in 1101, only to be exiled again almost immediately, to Yizhou in Guangxi (1103 - 1105), where he died.

Another one by Huang Tingjian 

Huang Tingjian never ceased to bring forth new ideas to his calligraphy. After the Tang Dynasty, people no longer wrote while sitting on the ground. Thus Huang advocated a new writing method in order to adapt to the trend, holding the writing brush high, which proved to Mi Fei and other calligraphers to be an essentially better way to write.


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