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Chinese Literature
Fashu yaolu 法書要錄 "Important Records on Model Calligraphy"


The Fashu yaolu 法書要錄 "Important records on model calligraphy" is a book on calligraphy written by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Zhang Yanyuan 張彥遠, courtesy name Zhang Aibin 張愛賓. He came from Hedong 河東(modern Yongji 永濟, Shanxi) and was a descendant of Zhang Jiazhen 張嘉貞, who had been counsellor to Emperor Xuanzong 唐玄宗 (r. 712-755). He climbed the ladder of career tot he post of regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of Shuzhou 舒州, then vice director (yuanwailang 員外郎) in the Ministry of War (bingbu 兵部), and finally chief minister in the Court of Judicial Review (dali qing 大理卿). He has also written the book Lidai minghua ji 歷代名畫記, a description of famous paintings through the ages.
The 10 juan "scrolls" long book Fashu yaolu is a description of the works of calligraphers from the Eastern Han 後漢 (25-220 CE) to the mid-Tang period and also includes a lot of theoretical treatises written by ancient masters. For half a dozen of articles, Zhang Yan Yuan only listed the title and does not quote, like Wang Xizhi's 王羲之 Jiaozi jingbi lun 教子敬筆論, Cai Yun's 蔡惲 Shu wu ding ti lun 書無定體論, Zhang Huaiguan's 張懷瓘 Liutishu 六體書, or Yan Shigu's 顏師古 Zhu Jijiuzhang 注急就章. The content is arranged chronologically. The Shufa yaolu is important because it quotes from many sources that are otherwise not transmitted, like Dou Xi's 竇息 rhapsody Shushufu 述書賦, or Wang Xizhi's Youjun shuji 右軍書記, or writings by Yu Jianwu 庾肩吾 and Li Sizhen 李嗣真. It also lists the titles of more than 460 calligraphies created by Wang Xizhi, of which only a very small part has survived.
The Shufa yaolu is included in the collectanea Jindai mishu 津逮秘書, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Wangshi shuhua yuan 王氏書畫苑, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書. In 1984 an annotated edition appeared in the Renmin meishu press 人民美術出版社, compiled by Fan Xiangyong 范祥雍, Qi Gong 啟功 and Huang Miaozi 黃苗子. Hong Pimo 洪丕謨 published an annotated edition in 1986 in the Shanghai shuhua press 上海書畫出版社.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1796. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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August 30, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail