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Chunhua Pavilion Calligraphy
Calligraphy as a unique artistic form is largely accepted in East and South Asia centered on China (including Taiwan), Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore. It is a time-honored art based on Chinese Characters and finally formed in Han and Wei Dynasties (202 BC-280). Chinese calligraphy masterpieces represented by Calligraphic Manuscript of Chunhua Pavilion is not seemingly simple and easily operated if learners do not have sufficient knowledge about Chinese culture and history. Chinese calligraphy actually is the most important foundation of Chinese art system. As the quintessence of Chinese calligraphy, we need to take a further understanding about Chunhua Pavilion Calligraphic Manuscript boasting The Originator of Chinese Calligraphic Model for learning and practice.
Calligraphic Manuscript of Chunhua Pavilion（淳化阁帖, Chunhua Pavilion’s Collection of Calligraphy Masterpieces）is Chinese first model collection of calligraphic masterpieces. In 992, when China was under the reign of North Song Dynasty, Wang Zhu（王著）, a famous academic professional and high-rank official, followed Zhao Guangyi, Emperor Taizong of North Song Dynasty (939-997), compiled the calligraphic masterpieces of emperors, calligraphists and famous officials of different generations collected in imperial palaces.
Calligraphic Manuscript of Chunhua Pavilion（淳化阁帖, Chunhua Pavilion’s Collection of Calligraphy Masterpieces）is also China’ oldest comprehensive book specialized in collecting the calligraphic masterpieces of different dynasties before Song Dynasty, roughly from the time before pre-Qin Dynasty to Tang Dynasty. The content is comprised of many famous artworks of calligraphists, emperors and talented officials. In sum, there are 420 calligraphic artworks created by 103 historic figures. In its first volume, 19 emperors’ calligraphic works were covered. More specifically, the first volume of this edition of Chunhuage calligraphic collection is themed with the calligraphic masterpieces of emperors; the second, third and fourth volumes are themed with the calligraphic masterpieces of famous officials; the fifth volume is featured with the ancient calligraphic models of many famous calligraphists; the sixth, seventh and eighth volumes are themed with the calligraphic representatives of Wang Xizhi (王羲之，307-365), who was regarded as the Saint of Calligraphy; and the ninth and tenth volumes are calligraphic masterpieces of Wang Xianzhi(王献之, 344-388), who was the son of Wang Xizhi and also the second most famous calligraphists in Chinese calligraphy history. Perhaps in some parts, there are also shortages in compiling and classification.
Unforunately, since China fell into the convulsion and warfare, Calligraphic Manuscript of Chunhua Pavilion was also in the danger of ruin; finally it was illegally transported to The United States, and since then, it was preserved and collected in museums overseas. Qi Gong(启功，1912-2005) as the modern Chinese most famous calligrapher who passed away in 2005 once highly spoke of the repurchasing of Calligraphic Manuscript of Chunhua Pavilion from the United States and commented it as the most magnificent and successful exchange in Chinese modern overseas exchange history.
Shanghai Museum spent a great deal, in total 4.5 million US dollars, in repurchasing Calligraphic Manuscript of Chunhua Pavilion, the earliest integrated book on calligraphic manuscripts originally edited in Song Dynasty of China, from the United States. At the time, the price of this manuscript boasting Chinese First Calligraphic Manuscript in 2000 inferior to 44.04 million Hong Kong Dollar, the exchange price of Porcelain of Ming Dynasty named Five-Color Pot with Fish and Alga Grains(五彩鱼藻纹盖罐) currently is ranked the runner-up among the exchange prices of Chinese cultural antiques and treasures in global community.
The original edition of Calligraphic Manuscript of Chunhua Pavilion has more than 1000 years of history. It is qualified to be the originator of Chinese calligraphy.
More Related Reading:
1. Chinese Calligraphy Introduction
2. Lan Ting Xu, or Preface to Orchid Pavilion
3. Chinese Calligraphy in Brief