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Technique for Living as an Immortal

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Period: Qianyou reign (948), Later-Han dynasty (947–950)
Medium: ink on paper
Format: scroll

Date: Qianyou reign (948), Later-Han dynasty (947–950)
Calligrapher(s): Yang Ningshi (873–954)

Dimensions: 27 cm × 21.2 cm

Technique for Living as an Immortal (Shenxian qiju fa) is a calligraphic record by Yang Ningshi (873–954) of part of the Daoist teacher Hua Yangjiao’s formula for ancient medical massage and health practices. The artist wrote it at the age of seventy-six (in sui). The journaled text is preserved in expressive brushwork that has rough and unusual qualities. It is a fine example of Yang’s running-cursive (xingcao) art.

Originally from Huayin in Huazhou (present-day Huayin, Shaanxi Province), Yang Ningshi went by the courtesy name (zi) Jingdu and the style name (hao) Xubai. A renowned calligrapher of the Five Dynasties period (907–960), he is recognized as playing an important role in carrying on the legacy of Tang-dynasty (618–906) calligraphy and ushering in that of the Song dynasty (960–1279). His historic influence led to Su Shi’s (1037–1101) esteeming of concepts (shangyi) during the Song period.

Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu

 

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