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Zhang Han Manuscript in Running Script

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Period: Tang dynasty (618-907)
Medium: ink on paper
Format: album leaf

Scriptstyle: running script
Calligrapher(s): Ouyang Xun (557-641)

Dimensions: 25.1 × 31.7 cm

This is a Tang dynasty copy of Ouyang Xun's calligraphic work.  
  A manuscript by Ouyang Xun, Zhang Han Manuscript records the story of Zhang Han of the Western Jin dynasty (265-316). When this rare copy was collected by the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) imperial court, it was compiled in the catalogue Splendid Array of Calligraphic Works. The facing page of the folio bears an inscription by Zhao Ji (1082-1136, the Huizong Emperor, r. 1101-1125). Along the left edge of the right page, an inscription by the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736-1795) together with imperial seals were scratched off. Such effacement indicates unsuccessful theft by palace eunuchs in late Qing period. 
  Ouyang Xun was born in Linxiang, Hunan province, with a courtesy name Xinben. In his early years he read widely in the classics. Ouyang Xun served the Sui (589-618) court as Erudite of the Court of the Imperial Sacrifices (taichang boshi) and the subsequent Tang court as the Director of the Court of the Watches (taizi shuaigengling). His calligraphic style won such acclaim that it became honored as the "Ou style". Characters written by Ouyang boast square and compact structure with slanting yet forceful strokes. His famous works include Ode of the Sweet-wine Spring at the Palace of Nine Peaks and Tablet for Huangfu Dan.

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