The overall feature of calligraphy in the Ming Dynasty is that calligraphy is developing towards diversification. By the time of the Song Dynasty, the art of calligraphy was not limited to monuments, official documents, letters, etc., but expanded to pure artistic creation mainly using literary works as the medium, and was also widely used by literati painters in the inscriptions and postscripts of paintings. This kind of ethos is even worse in the Yuan Dynasty, so that we need to understand the style of some calligraphers, and sometimes we can only see it in the inscriptions and postscripts of paintings (such as Ni Zan's calligraphy). After the Ming and Qing Dynasties, poems, prose, couplets (beginning with Meng Chang, the ruler of Later Shu in the Five Dynasties), good sentences and exquisite paintings have become the main sources of calligraphy creation. By the Ming Dynasty, new styles such as praise, postscript, inscription, note, and knowledge of the predecessors' calligraphy books appeared in calligraphy.
"Taige style" (called Guange style in Qing Dynasty) also appeared in the early Ming Dynasty. At that time, the rulers of the Ming Dynasty were dissatisfied with the style of calligraphy under the rule of the Yuan people, so a style of calligraphy appeared among the upper-level bureaucrats that catered to the purpose. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The representatives of "Taige Style" are the so-called "Three Yangs", namely Yang Shiqi, Yang Rong, and Yang Pu. However, due to the Achilles' heel of "Taige Style", it did not have a great impact on the overall development of calligraphy in the Ming Dynasty.
On the whole, there are two major styles of calligraphy that played a supporting role in Ming Dynasty calligraphy: one is the creative orientation of Song Ke, Zhu Yunming, Wen Zhengming, Dong Qichang, etc. The other is the bold exploration of Xu Wei, Zhang Ruitu, and Ni Yuanlu who have a solid foundation but are unwilling to stick to the ancients and are extremely anti-spirited, especially Wang Duo and Fu Shan in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties.
Among the rebellious calligraphers in the Ming Dynasty, Xu Wei should be the most recommended.
Xu Wei (1521~1593), Ziwenchang, Tianchi, late Qingteng, was born in Shanyin, Zhejiang. An important calligrapher in the mid-Ming Dynasty. Xu Wei's concern is not limited to how to improve and establish a personal style on the basis of tradition. He has a strong rebellious spirit and has dispelled a set of subtle and meticulous laws established since King Zhong. We know that from the pre-Qin period to the present, the development of characters has progressed towards simplification and has become more and more complex and diverse in the reverse direction. Xu Wei longed to return to the simple and lack of "intelligent" brushwork before the pre-Qin period. He dared to underestimate the beautiful structure that has become a rule since King Zhong, and pursued the messy brushwork in calligraphy works, and the childish and clumsy structure. Very natural and casual personality. Xu Wei's efforts have gone farther than Zhu Yunming's. Due to the liberation of the brush and the structure, the lyrical function of calligraphy has achieved a qualitative leap. It can be said that many of Xu Wei's works are purely lyrical. In this sense, Xu Wei's contribution to the evolution of Chinese calligraphy is indestructible. Yuan Hongdao called Xu Wei "the sage of the Eight Laws and the chivalrous man of the forest", which is extremely insightful.
In addition to calligraphy, Xu Wei has a wide range of achievements. He is also a prominent figure in the history of painting, a poet and playwright in the literature of the Ming Dynasty. Calligraphy masterpieces include "Qing Tian Ge Juan" and a large number of cursive scripts.
Zhang Ruitu (?~1644), courtesy name Changgong, nickname Ershui, was born in Jinjiang, Fujian. Jinshi in the thirty-fifth year of Wanli (1608), the third in the palace examination, and later entered the cabinet as a minister of the Ministry of Rites, and became a bachelor of Wuyingdian, but later redeemed himself for the people due to sin. Zhang Ruitu is another important calligrapher who broke into the realm of breaking the law after Xu Wei in the middle Ming Dynasty, and he is very good at cursive. He came here after learning from ancient times, but he has no nostalgia, just as Qin Zu of the Qing Dynasty said, "Ruitu's brushwork is unique, and there is another way besides Zhong Wang." There are obvious traces of predecessors in Zhang Ruitu's pen, but he did once respect his predecessors (he wrote a lot of writings on Sun Guoting's "Book Book", Su Shi's "Drunkard Pavilion" and Xi Xian) Kung Fu), which shows that there are only permeated betrayals in the historical evolution, and there is no rupture without cause and effect. This is not without inspiration for people today.
Zhang Rui's books are rich, including "Cong Ma Xing", "Le Zhi Lun" and a large number of scroll books.
Ni Yuanlu (1593~1644), courtesy name Yuru, nickname Hongbao. Tianqi Jinshi, good at calligraphy and painting, and excellent cursive. He once carried out calligraphy revival activities with Huang Daozhou, Wang Duo and others. He dared to ignore the dignity of writing, and changed the previous practice of using the brush to submit to the structure to the need for the structure to obey the use of the brush. This kind of concept vaguely makes us feel the awareness of formal beauty that people have generally accepted today. Ni Yuanlu's works include "Jinshan Poetry" and a large number of scrolls of poems and books.
Huang Daozhou (1585~1646), whose name was Xuandu, was later changed to Youping, and his name was Shizhai. People from Zhangpu, Fujian. In the second year of Tianqi (1623), he was a Jinshi. He was a member of the Donglin Party. Later, he was captured for resisting the Qing army and died in Nanjing. Huang Daozhou was a man of righteousness, and he was famous for his majestic cursive script in the late Ming Dynasty. He is also an innovative figure in the history of calligraphy. He breaks the norms of writing, and his strokes are long but short, and short are long. There is no hindrance in his heart, and his calligraphy has a unique appearance. Qin Zuyong of the Qing Dynasty said in "Tongyin Lunhua" that Huang's "cursive brushwork is surreal and wonderful, and won the soul of the two kings". It can be seen that it is precisely because of the achievements of predecessors that we can have the realm of "bizarre and super wonderful". There are a large number of cursive poems handed down in his works.
Wang Duo (1592~1652), courtesy name Juexin, nicknamed Chi'an, also known as Haoqiao, and nicknamed Yantan Yusou. A native of Mengjin, Henan, he is known as Wang Mengjin in the world. Tomorrow he will be a Jinshi, an official to the Ministry of Rites, and then an official to the Ministry of Rites in the Qing Dynasty. He died with the posthumous title of Wen'an. Wang Duo is good at seal script, official script, regular script, running script and cursive script, and cursive script is the most praised. Together with Ni Yuanlu and Huang Daozhou, he is committed to the revival of calligraphy. His own appearance is very strong, but compared with Ni Huang, the traditional meaning is much stronger. Zhang Ruitu, Ni and Huang have already played more wing forwards, while Wang Duo still mostly guards the center forward. But it also shows a great degree of freedom for the structure, which supports and promotes the innovation of calligraphy. His works include "Linbao Nutie", "Cursive Script Du Shijuan" and so on.
Fu Shan (1607~1684), courtesy name Qingzhu, nicknamed Zhenshan and Shidaoren. A native of Yangqu (now Taiyuan), Shanxi. Proficient in poetry, gold and stone, calligraphy and painting and medicine. It is most famous for medicine and calligraphy. He was a famous figure at the turn of Ming and Qing Dynasties.
If we regard the calligraphy phenomenon of Xu Wei, Zhang Ruitu, Ni Yuanlu, Huang Daozhou and so on in the Ming Dynasty as a "law-breaking movement" that innovated the aesthetic perspective of traditional calligraphy, Fu Shan can be said to be the summator of this movement and spokesperson. He clearly put forward the aesthetic principle of "prefer clumsiness over ingenuity, ugliness over flattery, branching over frivolity, and sincerity over arrangement", which actually expressed the common pursuit of a series of outstanding calligraphers since Xu Wei. It can't help but remind us of the combination of engraved characters in ancient times, the inscriptions on tortoise shell bones, and the era when calligraphy and art were not yet awakened. However, Fu Shan’s point of view coincides with the aesthetic characteristics of calligraphy in these times, and there has been a miraculous return, which makes the calligraphic style of Zhong Wang who misunderstood artificiality and "cautious" calligraphic art very interesting. The face changed.
Fu Shan calligraphy is a very pure art of expressing emotions with lines. It is called cursive script, but there is not necessarily a cursive method; it is called running script, but there are continuous links; it is called regular script, but there is no regular rule at all, only the flow and change of lines. From the visual point of view, there is the clumsiness of beginners, the bluntness of stupidity, and the precious temperament of arguing. What is amazing is that Fu Shan can indeed write subtle lowercase script, which is as pure as everyone who is good at lowercase script after King Zhong. It is commendable that Fu Shan can break the law and stand on his own.
Among the calligraphers of the Ming Dynasty, there are also a large number of outstanding calligraphers, such as Xie Jin, Zhang Bi, Zhang Jun, Chen Xianzhang, Zhan Jingfeng, Li Dongyang, Shen Zhou, Wang Chong, Chen Chun and so on.