书圣 – Chinese philosophy and culture

shūshèng 书圣

The Sage of Calligraphy

东晋时期著名书法家王羲之(303—361,一作307—365,又作321—379)的“别称”。“圣”指神圣,中国古代往往将精通某门技艺或在某一方面造诣达到极深之人尊称为“圣”,以此肯定和称赞一个人的卓越成就、杰出地位和深远影响。“书圣”一词,既强调了王羲之书法艺术的高超,也称赞了王羲之道德人格的高尚。王羲之精研体势,心摹手追,广采众长,兼善隶、草、楷、行各体,摆脱了汉魏书风,自成一家。其代表作《兰亭集序》,被誉为“天下第一行书”。因梁武帝萧衍(464—549)、唐太宗李世民(599—649)、宋太宗赵光义(939—997)等帝王的大力推崇,历史上曾出现过三次大规模学习王羲之书法的高潮,由此树立了王羲之千古“书圣”的美名。

This title was given to the renowned calligrapher Wang Xizhi, who lived from 303 to 361 (or possibly 307-365 or 321-379) of the Eastern Jin Period. The word “sage” here refers to a person of supreme attainment. People in ancient China tended to honor a person with an exceptional talent or skill as a “sage” in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments, prominent achievements, and profound influence. The term “Sage of Calligraphy” not only highlights Wang Xizhi’s superb mastery of calligraphic art but also commended his moral integrity. By carefully studying the features of calligraphy, and by imitating and practicing, Wang learned widely from the strong points of others. He was extraordinarily good at all four major forms of calligraphy – clerical script, cursive script, regular script, and running script. His calligraphy abandoned the special traits popular in the Han and Wei dynasties and formed a style of his own. His most noted and famous work, “Preface to the Collection of Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion” has been honored through the ages as the best running script ever written. Promoted by Xiao Yan (464-549), Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty, Li Shimin (599-649), Emperor Taizong of the Tang, and Zhao Guangyi (939-997), Emperor Taizong of the Song, there appeared three upsurges of emulating Wang’s calligraphy on a massive scale. Hence his prestige as the greatest calligrapher of all times.

引例 Citations:

◎王羲之书字势雄逸,如龙跳天门,虎卧凤阁,故历代宝之,永以为训。(《梁武帝评书》,见陈思《书苑菁华》卷五)

(王羲之的书法,体势雄浑飘逸,好像是蛟龙跃进天宫大门,猛虎卧在皇宫楼阁,[可谓达到极致,]所以历朝历代都将其视为珍品,作为永远的典范。)

Wang Xizhi’s calligraphy, both vigorous and graceful, calls to mind a great dragon leaping through the gate of the Heavenly Gate or a fierce tiger crouching in the Royal Palace. It has reached a supreme level! Therefore, people through the ages have viewed it as a treasure and eternal classic model. (Emperor Wu of Liang’s Comments on Calligraphers from the Han Dynasty to the Liang of the Southern Dynasties)

◎详察古今,研精篆素,尽善尽美,其惟王逸少乎!(《晋书·王羲之传论》)

(仔细考察古今书法,对前人的作品透彻精研,所写书法全都尽善尽美,古今只有王羲之一个人啊!)

Wang Xizhi is the only one to have studied both ancient and contemporary calligraphy carefully and elevated it to a level of perfection! (The History of the Jin Dynasty)

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