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Essay on Literature

Calligraphing "Essay on Literature"
Lu Chien-chih (fl. 2nd half of 7th c.), T'ang Dynasty
Handscroll, ink on paper, 25.7 x 256.2 cm


Lu Chien-chih was active under emperors T'ai-tsung and Kao-tsung in the T'ang dynasty. His calligraphy followed after that of his uncle, the famous calligrapher Yu Shih-nan (558-638). His calligraphy here is a transcription of the famous "Essay on Literature" written by Lu Chi (261-303). Reading "Essay on Literature" as a discourse on art in general, lines such as "Everything exists within the tip of a brush" prove to be an apt description for the unlimited possibilities of art. The essay here as transcribed as a piece of calligraphy reveals exactly this convergence of art and writing. Thus, it has been selected as the prefatory and first object in this exhibit. This scroll is similar in ways to Wang Hsi-chih's "Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Gathering", and it includes 144 lines that appear as if they were done in a single burst of energy.