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Calligrapher Zheng Xie Chinese

Not on view

清 鄭燮 行書詩 卷 絹本

Zheng Xie was one of a group of calligraphers in eighteenth-century Yangzhou who looked to the distant past for inspiration. Dissatisfied with what he saw as futile attempts to recapture the elegance of Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322) and Dong Qichang (1555–1636), Zheng went in the other direction, seeking to achieve a sense of naïveté and awkwardness in his writing by incorporating elements of ancient stone inscriptions. This work is a mature example of Zheng’s accomplishments: blunt yet fluid, it is written in a hybrid script of his own creation that lies somewhere between regular and clerical, with touches of cursive and semicursive. Zheng called his creation “six-and-a-half script.” The text is composed of biographies of fifteen artists and writers that Zheng feared would be forgotten to history if he did not record them.

Poem, Zheng Xie (Chinese, 1693–1765), Handscroll; ink on silk, China

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