An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Ping shutie 評書帖

Mar 15, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Ping shutie 評書帖 "Critique of calligraphy models" is an essay on calligraphy written during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Liang Yan 梁巘 (1710-1788), courtesy name Wenshan 聞山, style Songzhai 松齋, from Bozhou 亳州 (today's Boxian 亳縣), Anhui. Liang was district magistrate (zhixian 知縣) of Badong 巴東 and an excellent calligrapher. He is known as one of the three Liangs (san Liang 三梁), the others being Liang Tongshu 梁同書 (1723-1815) and Liang Zhiguo 梁國治 (1723-1786), who were also hobby artists. Liang Yan also wrote the book Chengjinzhai jiwen lu 承晉齋積聞錄.

The Ping shutie is written in "brush-notes" style (biji 筆記) and is thus a loose collection of 141 small chapters on various aspects of calligraphy most of which deal with methods of controlling the brush and with rating artworks. Liang also speaks about the history of stone slab inscriptions and model calligraphies. He praises the high skills of masters of the Tang period 唐 (618-907), but also recommends the calligraphies of contemporary artists like Dong Xuanzai 董玄宰 and Zhang Detian 張得天. His discussion of individual artworks is very professional, but some of his arguments are not very convincing.

Liang Yan died before he could finish the book. It was published by a person called Shigan 士淦 (family name not known, perhaps Fang 方士淦). The text is appended to the collection Tanzhexuan ji 啖蔗軒集 and included in the series Meishu congshu 美術叢書 and Nianqulu congshu 念劬廬叢書.

Duan Huizi 段惠子 (2011). "Liang Yan Ping shutie zhibi lun 梁巘《評書帖》執筆論", Dongyue luncong 東嶽論叢, 2011 (9): 187-189.
Wang Dongling 王冬齡 (1992). "Ping shutie 評書帖", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Meishu 美術 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 615.
Wang Jianbing 王劍冰 (1996). "Ping shutie 評書帖", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Yishu 藝術卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 561.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 442.
Zhang Guangran 張廣冉 (2020). "Chuyi Liang Yan Ping shutie dui dangdai shufa piping de yiyi 芻議梁巘《評書帖》對當代書法批評的意義", Shufa shangping 書法賞評, 2020 (1): 5-7.