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Seven-character Couplet in Running Script

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: ink on paper
Format: couplet

Scriptstyle: running script
Calligrapher(s): Tiebao (1752-1824)

Dimensions: 127.8 × 27.8 cm

Tiebao was a member of the Plain Yellow Banner, one of the eight Manchu Banners established by Nurgaci in the early 17th century for the registration, conscription, taxation and mobilization of the Jurchen tribes. After the conquest of China proper, the Eight Banners became a privileged hereditary class. Tiebao earned his jinshi degree in 1772, and once served as the Governor-general of Jiangsu, Anhui and Jiangxi province as well as Minister of Personnel (libu shangshu). As a government official, he was known for his tolerance and magnanimity. His calligraphy was still more famous in his time. He learned to write in regular and cursive script from the styles of Yan Zhenqing (709-784) and Wang Xizhi (ca. 303 - ca. 361) works, respectively. He also modeled after the style of Tang (618-907) master calligraphers Huaisu (725-785) and Sun Guoting. After drawing from a number of calligraphers' works, Tiebao ultimately formed his own style. Though starting by learning "official regular script" (guange ti), he managed to rectify the defects of the script and exercised considerable influence over later generations. He was named, together with Yongxing (Prince Cheng, 1752-1823), Liu Yong (1720-1804) and Weng Fanggang (1733-1818), as the "Four Master Calligraphers" of the Qing dynasty.  
  Casually brushed, this couplet consists of large characters in running regular script. The strokes are fully rendered in an imposing manner, while the character structure is dignified, displaying a style that features openness, mellowness, steadiness and spontaneity. It is exceptionally straightforward and elegant.

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