An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Fatie shiwen 法帖釋文

Oct 6, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Fatie shiwen 法帖釋文 "Textual Explanation of Model Calligraphies" is a book on model calligraphies written by the late Northern Song-period 北宋 (960-1126) scholar Liu Cizhuang 劉次莊 (early 12th cent.), courtesy name Zhongsou 中叟.

Liu hailed from Changsha 長沙 (modern Changsha, Hunan) and was Censor-in-chief (yushi dafu 御史) under Emperor 宋徽宗 (r. 1100-1125). According to Cao Shimian's 曹士冕 book Fatie puxi 法帖譜系, Liu Cizhuang owned a copy of the important model calligraphy collection Chunhuage tie 淳化閣帖 that he had incised into stone slabs. Liu Cizhuang omitted the part on seal script and added a commentary for each of the calligraphies in the 10-juan long book.

According to a story in Zeng Minxing's 曾敏行 (1118-1175) book Duxing zazhi 獨醒雜志, Liu Cizhuang was already a calligrapher-mad in his young days and wrote calligraphic texts all over the kitchen of his parent's home. When he obtained a copy of model calligraphies in the prefectural treasure of Linjiang 臨江 he transcribed the text into standard script.

The original shape of his book Fatie shiwen was a compound edition of the calligraphic texts, with inter-lineary commentary. Only in later editions his commentary was separted from the master text. During the reign of Emperor Ningzong 宋寧宗 (r. 1194-1224), Wang Lizhong 汪立中 published the text in a joint edition with the model calligraphy collection of Master Pan from Jiangzhou 絳州潘氏帖. This 20-juan version is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1502.