Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru

Calligrapher Huang Tingjian Chinese

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Poet, calligrapher, and Chan (Zen) Buddhist adept, Huang Tingjian believed that calligraphy should be spontaneous and self-expressive—“a picture of the mind.” Containing nearly twelve hundred characters, this handscroll is a master­piece of cursive-script writing. It transcribes an account of a rivalry between two officials: Lian Po, a distinguished general; and Lin Xiangru, a skilled strategist. Huang’s transcription ends abruptly with Lin’s words: “When two tigers fight, one must perish. I behave as I do because I put our country’s fate before private feuds.” Read in the context of Song political infighting, Huang’s transcription becomes a powerful indictment of the partisanship that led to his own banishment in 1094.

#7450. Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru

Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru, Huang Tingjian (Chinese, 1045–1105), Handscroll; ink on paper, China

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