Zhao Zhiqian (1829-1884) was a famous calligrapher, painter, and seal carver in the Qing Dynasty of China. Han nationality, native of Shaoxing, Zhejiang. The first name was Yifu, and the nickname was Lengjun; later the name was changed to Lushu, and the names were Beian, Mei'an, Wumen, etc. Zhao Zhiqian's seal cutting achievements were huge and had a profound influence on later generations. Modern masters such as Wu Changshuo and Qi Baishi have benefited a lot from others.

1. Biography

    Zhao Zhiqian's first name was Yifu, and his nickname was Lengjun; later he changed his name to Luoshu, and his nicknames were Tiesesan, Hanliao, Bei'an, Wumen, Mei'an, etc. He lived in "Erjindietang" and "Kujianshi". He served as magistrate of Poyang and Fengxin counties in Jiangxi Province. He was good at poetry and prose, and was good at calligraphy. He first studied with Yan Zhenqing, and used seal script and official script with Deng Shiru. Later he became his own style, stubborn and powerful. Stay out of fashion. He was good at painting, and his flowers were modified after imitating Shi Tao. He was the pioneer of freehand flowers in the late Qing Dynasty. He first learned seal cutting from the Zhejiang School, followed the seals of the Qin and Han Dynasties, and then joined the Song, Yuan and Anhui schools. He obtained Qin imperial edicts, Han mirrors, coins, Han inscriptions and stele texts, etc. for printing. He swept away old habits and made his works green and powerful. In his youth, he became famous all over the world for his talent. His attainments in calligraphy are multi-faceted, and he can integrate Zhen, Cao, Li and Zhuan brushwork into one, complementing each other and complementing each other. Zhao Zhiqian once said: "Independence is precious, the world is huge, many people say it, and independence is hard to find." He made unremitting efforts in poetry, calligraphy, painting and art throughout his life, and finally became a master of his generation.
    He has been reading and learning calligraphy since he was a child, and he is knowledgeable and knowledgeable. He once made a living by painting and calligraphy. I took part in the examination three times but failed in all of them. At the age of 44, he was appointed editor-in-chief of "Jiangxi Tongzhi" and magistrate of Poyang, Fengxin and Nancheng counties. He died in office. He is good at figures, landscapes, and especially flowers. At first, he painted beautiful styles. Later, he adopted the methods of Xu Wei, Zhu Da, and the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou. His pen and ink tended to be indulgent, with vigorous and free brush strokes, free and easy colors, rich colors, and full of novelty. His first calligraphy master was Yan Zhenqing, and later he adopted the method of Northern Dynasty stele inscriptions. He wrote regular script with gentle and rounded strokes, and was known as "Wei Di Yanmian". His seal script was based on Deng Shiru's work and was mixed with Wei stele style. It has a unique style, and he can also use the Wei stele style to write cursive script. Zhao Zhiqian first copied the eight schools of Xiling in seal cutting, and later followed the Anhui school, adding imperial edicts, Han mirror inscriptions, coin inscriptions, tile inscriptions, seal seals, etc. to form a unique style with varied compositions and fresh artistic conception, and created the Yangwen edge style. , whose art organically combined poetry, calligraphy, painting and sealing, had a great influence on the art world of the late Qing Dynasty. Many of his calligraphy and painting works have been handed down to the world, and later generations edited and published various picture albums and albums. He wrote "The Beizhen Jushiwen", "Beizhen Jushi Poems", "Yonglu Xianjie", "Bu Huanyu Visiting Monuments", "Six Dynasties "Bieziji", which is printed with "Erjindietang Seal Pu". In addition, Zhao Zhiqian wrote "Zhang Zhonglie Gong Chronicle", which narrates the life of Zhang Huangyan, a famous anti-Qing general in the late Ming Dynasty, in a chronological form.

2. Collect everyone
    There are many books and secret books. The family's library is called "Er Golden Butterfly Hall" and "Looking Up to Qian Qian Qian Qian He Zhai". The books in the collection are printed with "Zhao Zhiqian", "Books collected by Erjindietang", "Bend for five buckets of rice", "Helu", "Erjindietang double hooks and stone carvings of the two Han Dynasties", etc. According to the book collection, "Looking Up to the Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty-Nine Hezhai Series" (referred to as "Hezhai Series") has 6 volumes and 38 categories. It contains first scriptures, miscellaneous histories, epigraphs, notes, etc., all of which are short and rare. The Book of Biography. Among them, the book "The Story and Complete Story of English Guangdong's Entry into the City" was the latest historical record at that time. He was wild in nature and good at painting freehand flowers. Together with Ren Bonian and Wu Changshuo, he was known as one of the "Three Great Painters of the Late Qing Dynasty". The two kings of calligraphy and Yan style create a unique style of Shen Xiong and simplicity. He is also good at compilation and engraving, and his seals are simple and vigorous. Good at poetry and prose. He is the author of "Continued Notes on the Inheritance of Sinological Teachers in the Imperial Dynasty", "Interviews with Bu Huanyu Monument", "Yonglu Gossip", "Erjindietang Seal", "Jiyatang Poems", "Mei'an Collection", "Beian Jushi Poems" "wait.

3. Calligraphy career

    Zhao Zhiqian recorded in "Zhang'an Zashuo": "Before the age of 20, I studied "Family Temple Stele", 500 words a day." It can be seen that he worked very hard on Yan and Ti. However, the times have changed, the study of calligraphy has gradually declined, and the study of tablets has flourished. The historical trend is irresistible. As Kang Youwei said: "The rise of the study of stele and the decline of the study of calligraphy are also due to the prosperity of epigraphy. ... The Bao family in Jingxian County, with their sharp talents and the prosperity of epigraphy, spread the method of Wanbai, and uniquely obtained Yun Ao. Da opened the secret collection and wrote "An Wu Lun Shu" to express the new stele and the brushwork technique, so the study was at its peak. By the time of Xian and Tong, the study of stele had spread widely, and the three-foot-long boy and the ten-room society were all involved. The stele in the north of the mouth is written in the Wei style, and the customs are already established." Zhao Zhiqian is in this situation, with his character, he will never be willing to lag behind others, and with his talent, he will definitely become a trend-setter of the times.
    After Zhao Zhiqian avoided Wenzhou, he had time to read "An Wu Lun Shu" and was deeply impressed by Bao An Wu's theory. In "Zhang An's Miscellaneous Comments", we can see his attachment to the ancient carvings of the Six Dynasties: "The beauty of the ancient carvings of the Six Dynasties is that they are durable to look at. When you encounter them suddenly, you will be horrified by the mean man, and your wise men will be stunned. After staring for a long time, you will see a wave of dings. They are all created by heaven and earth, and cannot be moved. You must write the scale before you know where to start. If you have not read all the joys and sorrows in this, you will not understand it." He also said: "An Wu and Bao Shen Boyan once saw the rubbings of the Southern Tang Dynasty "Mr. Dongfang". "Painting Praise" and "Luo Shen Fu", the writing style is the same as that of the Han Dynasty. However, it can be seen from the two kings' books passed down in modern times. It was Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty who reprinted the two kings' books. Today, there are Taizong's imperial calligraphy tablets, and there are many books printed by the two kings in the world. Different. It is said that Taizong's book is the book of two kings. You must know that at that time, Taizong paid tribute to the two kings, and all the ministers worshiped Taizong. The imitation of things became a pandering. As a result, the calligrapher who had been regarded as the ancestor for hundreds of years lost his true identity. Then eighty million eyes were blinded by this piece of dust, which is a pity. Those who dare not speak out this theory for thousands of years can only speak nonsense. Ruan Wenda said that the book was written by the people of the Tang Dynasty, and the two kings wrote the book by the people of the Tang Dynasty. , it’s not expensive either, it’s different but the same as Yu’s meaning.” He was not satisfied with the two kings in his book. So, he began to learn calligraphy, and gradually parted ways with the Erwang system. After he went to Beijing, he met Shen Junchu, Hu Ganbo, Wei Jiasun, etc., all of whom were addicted to gold and stone. At that time, he was working on re-editing "Bu Huanyu Visiting Stele Records" and collected a large number of ancient inscriptions, especially "Zheng Wengong Stele", which is the most favorite. When I was about 35 years old, I would go back and forth to Liulichang every day, admiring and analyzing things, morning and night.

    Zhao Zhiqian gradually gave up Yan style calligraphy completely and turned to Northern Wei calligraphy. At the age of 36, he wrote 12 volumes of poems in regular script for Qi Jiwen, which can be said to be an early classic in his study of Northern Wei calligraphy. A year ago, Zhao Zhiqian still retained his calligraphy style. In just one year, his calligraphy style has undergone a qualitative change, which is unimaginable to ordinary people. From then on, he abandoned his appearance and entered Wei, and he continued to do so. When he was 37 years old, he wrote in a letter to Hu Peixi (Ziji): "I have been reading "Yizhou Shuangji" for five years, and the more I think about it, the more I think about it. Since I came here, I saw the stele written by Zheng Xibo, and I began to understand Juanfeng. After seeing Zhang Wanlin's book, I began to understand the turning point. After seeing more than a hundred authentic works by Dengshan people, I began to understand and setback. However, I still can't understand the four words "dragon leaping and tiger lying", and Yan Yanxiang (Han Jun, named Delin, one of Bao's disciples) Come and watch his calligraphy, you will have a great understanding of the methods of horizontal and vertical waves. Yan has been studying this for thirty years, and his secret is very secret. Although his brother stole it for a while, he suspected that he had entered it suddenly. But there are not many other schools at present. Give it up. At this point, the book is on the back of the Guange style. My brothers and others are no longer able to serve, so we might as well do our own thing." "Yizhou Shuangji" was Zhao Zhiqian's guiding theory when he changed from the Yan style to the Northern Wei style. Zheng Daozhao's carved stones enabled him to understand the "juanfeng" writing method. The calligraphy of Zhang Wanlin (named Qi, 1764-1833) also broadened Zhao Zhiqian's horizons and made him aware of the interoperability of Zhen and Li calligraphy. Deng Shiru's calligraphy enabled him to understand the rhythm of the strokes. In addition, Zhao Zhiqian also specially praised Zhang Qi's daughter Zhang Lunying (1780~?), thinking that "there is no calligrapher in the dynasty such as Ms. Zhang Wanchuan of Yanghu named Lunying, and there is only one after Zheng Xibo". Zhang Lunying was good at the North Monument and took Zheng Daozhao as his method. Her influence on Zhao is evident when compared with his work.

    However, looking at the books written by Zhao Zhiqian after he was 35 years old, or even around the age of 40, although his style has initially taken shape, he lacks writing power, and his writing, transitions, and connections are often forced. Just as he said in his letter to Wei Jia Sun: "At this time, I have begun to understand the five characters of my serious illness in writing, which is: the beginning and end are not clean. (This is something that no one else can know. Brother may have more accusations, I hope to tell you more (I.) If this disease is eliminated, there will be some wonderful things that Deng and Bao cannot reach, and some that one cannot know." This five-character disease of "unclean beginning and ending" is even more obvious in running script. It is gradually resolved after about the age of 40. To be precise, it was perfected around the age of 44 before and after taking office in Jiangxi. It was finally completed after the age of 50 and reached the state of "old people and books", which is close to the masters of the Southern and Northern Dynasties, which is obvious to all. Just as he claims: "There was this person after the Han Dynasty and before the Sui Dynasty", it is true!

Dating back to the Qin and Han dynasties, the customs of seal script and official script have been developed since then.

    Zhao Zhiqian's study of seal script or seal cutting was originally influenced by Deng Shiru and Wu Rangzhi, and secondly, he was influenced by his colleague Hu Shu. At that time, seal cutting was all done in small seals. Zhao Zhiqian also learned this and was only good at small seal script. There are very few large seal script works and only one horizontal banner can be seen, so it is not possible to discuss. Deng Shiru was the first among those who were good at seal script in the Qing Dynasty. This was a conclusion in Zhao's time. Other masters of seal script, such as Wang Shu, Hong Liangji, Qian Piao, Sun Xingyan, etc., all focused on jade tendon seal script, which lacked variety and was not in line with Zhao Zhiqian's character, so it was not valued by Zhao. After Deng, Zhang Huiyan, Wu Rangzhi and Delin passed down his seal writing techniques. Hu Shu, a colleague and friend, has expertise in this field. When Zhao was 54 years old, he wrote the "Yishan Stele" for his disciple Qian Shilin: "The Yishan stone carvings were lost in the Northern Wei Dynasty, and the Zheng Wenbao carvings handed down today are very clumsy. In the past, it was not an exaggeration to make chronicles of history. I am not wrong. Among the seal scripts of the dynasty, Deng Nunbo was the first, and the closest people after Nunbo were Wu Xizai of Yangzhou and my friend Hu Jianfu of Jixi. Xizai was old, and Jianfu was trapped in Hangzhou, and his life and death are unknown. I dare not write seal scripts while Jianfu is still alive. Today. I don't know where I'm going. Qian Sheng's second practice in searching for seal scripts, he had to use what he knew to show it, that is, he used Deng's calligraphy to interpret the mountain inscriptions, which may be better than the history of Wenbaochao." There are various messages revealed in this, among which the fundamental The other one learned from Deng Shiru. However, the biggest difference between Zhao Zhiqian and Wu Rangzhi is that they do not stick to the rules, follow Deng Shiru's example, rather than adhere to Deng's method, and use others for their own purposes. He commented on Deng Shiru that his talent was four and his manpower was six; while Bao Shichen had three people and seven people; Wu Rang had one person and nine people; he himself was seven people and three people. Based on talent, he is above everyone else. Therefore, from the bottom of his heart, he was also dissatisfied with Deng Shiru, thinking that after hard work, if the five-character disease of "uncertain beginning and end" was eliminated, there would be those who could not be achieved by Deng and Bao.

    At the age of 34, Zhao Zhiqian published the "Yishan Stele" volume and his seal script works before and after. The structure is between Deng Shiru and Hu Shu, and his writing power is still lacking in Shen Xiong. The middle age is the Year of the Crane, Li Yangbing's "Chenghuang Temple Stele" and other seal scripts in the two-body fan-shaped seal script have beautified the structure to an extreme, and are unique and innovative besides Deng Shiru, Wu Rangzhi and Hu Shu. And this new thing mainly lies in the beauty of "structure". For Zhao Zhiqian, official script is, in a sense, a supplementary style of writing. He once said: "In my life, I learned seal script before I was able to write official script, and I learned official script before I could write official script." Zhengshu - Northern Wei Shu, Zhao Zhiqian's most diligent and proud person, claimed that "he can only make official script", while seal script and official script are It is to pave the way for the study of Zhengshu. Of course, this is just a theory. In fact, Zhao Zhiqian's seal script is as mentioned above, and official script has its own style.

    Zhao Zhiqian dabbled extensively in official script, and what he learned can be seen from his handed down works. The following books were written successively: "Ode to the Stone Gate", "Fan Min Stele", "Sangong Mountain Divine Stele", "Liu Xiong Stele", "Fenglong Mountain Stele", "Wurong Stele", "Wei Yuanping Stele", "Chengyang Lingtai Stele" "etc. From the age of 35 to after 50 years old, all the works include those who refer to Han dynasty monuments. After entering Beijing at the age of 35, he searched extensively for tablets. He once made a detailed textual research on the "Liu Xiong Stele" collected by Shen Junchu, using the Song rubbings of Tianyi Pavilion and the double-hook edition of Jiang Qiushi's Bayu book copied by Weng Fanggang as the base, and collated them one by one, and wrote explanatory inscriptions. He also invented the double hook method and used a large number of hooks to imitate Han dynasty inscriptions. Among them are "Ten Types of Han Steles with Double Hooks in Erjindietang", all of which have rare inscriptions on stone. At the age of 45, he copied the 96-character fragment of the "Xiyue Huashan Temple Stele" for Li Wentian. Because of the "old double hook version", it can be seen that he also copied the "Xiyue Huashan Temple Stele" in his early years. When he was 35 years old, he wrote an inscription on "Zhao's double-hook edition of Kuaiji": "I can't ring but I can double-hook. I hope the words will be left for me, and future generations will come to ask for them for thousands of years." It can be seen that Zhao Zhiqian was also diligent in official script. That’s it!
Zhao Zhiqian first studied Deng Shiru, and then went back to the Han Dynasty stele. With Zhao's character, he did not adhere to one method, let alone a certain family, a certain style, or even a certain monument. Therefore, he learned from Han Li and eventually became his own style. His early works, which can be seen were made around the age of 35, are not yet mature, or the shape is just like that of the ancients. The middle-aged "Seven-Character Couplet in Official Script for Youtang" (40 years old), "Four Screens of Official Script Zhang Henglingxian" (40 years old), and "Four Screens of Longshan Monument for Xu Zhailin" (41 years old) have already entered the Han people's list of works. room, but the writing still has Deng Shiru's legacy. In his later years, he is like a formal script or a seal script, calm, sophisticated, simple and substantial. The writing style is between the seal script and the main script, with the center as the main part and the side as the main part. The line of writing combines the circle with the square, combining the square and the circle. The body is flat and square, tight on the outside and loose on the inside, wide and natural. There is a slight tendency to lean to the right in the flatness, and the strangeness and rightness are intertwined.

   Zhao Zhiqian's most numerous works and the most widely handed down writing are running script. Before the age of 35, most of his works were written in running script, all of which have their own style. Upon closer inspection, they are similar to He Shaoji, they are gentle, elegant, vigorous and free and easy. When he was 35 years old, he wrote a seven-character couplet in running script for Houfu in April: "It is good to be infatuated with dreams and dreams, and there are many joys after going through hardships." He still looked good, and a month later he wrote an eight-character couplet in running script for Zixun: "Spring The clouds are suddenly overcast, and I wonder about the sunset outside the window; I haven't had enough nap, and I am wandering in the pillow." Then I began to distance myself from "Yan Feng". In October, when I wrote a four-character couplet in seal script for Wei Jia Sun, the shape of the characters changed from rectangular to square and flat. Dot and dash have not completely broken away from the "Yan style", but have started to change from quantitative to qualitative. After the age of 36, this type of calligraphy will no longer be used. Around the age of 37, he tried to write running script using the northern stele method, which was often far-fetched. His self-assessed five-character disease of "unclean beginning and ending" can be clearly seen during this period, with unnatural turns and weak writing power. As we all know, Zhao Zhiqian's Fengxing calligraphy in the Northern Wei Dynasty was his original creation and unprecedented. Deng Shiru pioneered the calligraphy style of the Northern Wei Dynasty, but his cursive writing did not use a center stroke, but used a curling edge to wrap the brush. The same is true for Bao Shichen, but the font style does not deviate from the style of the Tang Dynasty. Only Zhao Zhiqian began to directly apply the calligraphy techniques of the Northern Wei Dynasty to running script. Therefore, it has no "reference objects" left by predecessors, and due to the unique writing method of Northern Wei Shu: curling front plus side forward converted to center, it is difficult to be coherent. Zhao first solved this problem in the small running script of the "manuscript", or in small characters. The writings written around the age of 40 are naturally mature and there is no stiffness at all. Although the writing power is not strong enough, the writing is no longer smooth. In a sense, the full maturity of his running script works was later than that of official script, seal script and official script, and it was the last one to take shape. After the age of 45, my mind and hands are free, and I can already do whatever I want, so I can let nature take its course and write freely. Zhao Zhiqian once claimed: "I have never learned running script, I can only draft it." In fact, running script accounts for 89% of Zhao Zhiqian's works in his later years, which is the focus of his works. It's just that the world uses the official script of the Northern Wei Dynasty to discuss Zhao Zhiqian, and ignores other calligraphy styles, so that the Fengxing script of the Northern Wei Dynasty is regarded as the "Book of the Northern Wei Dynasty by Zhao Zhiqian" without making a distinction. All successful calligraphers must start by correcting calligraphy and end it with running calligraphy. Wang Xizhi, Yan Zhenqing, Su Dongpo, Zhao Mengqi, Dong Qichang... are all like this. In modern calligraphy, scrolls are often hung on the wall to appreciate, and even more attention is paid to cursive calligraphy works. Although Zhao Yibei's stele is famous throughout the world, most of it is still written in running script. This is probably what the world wants from calligraphers.

If a person's calligraphy style and various calligraphy styles can be unified in the end, he must have a unique style. After the age of 50, Zhao Zhiqian, especially his works in his last years, has reached the state of "both people and books are old" in various calligraphy styles. It is a pity that Zhao Zhiqian rarely wrote cursive script in his life. Judging from the middle-aged cursive script "Foreword to the Collection of Holy Religions in Qianting Cursive Script", it is simple and elegant, and it all comes from the brushwork of the Northern Wei Dynasty.

4. Painting career

Know where the predecessors are and go where the predecessors have not - Paintings by Zhao Zhiqian

    I have seen paintings by Zhao Zhiqian and Ren Xiong (Weichang) (1823-1857). If we compare the "Album of Flowers and Fruits for Yuanqing in Twelve Parts" (collected by the Shanghai Museum) and the "Album of Flowers and Fruits in Fourteen Parts for Uncle Ying" (collected by the Palace Museum) written by Zhao Zhiqian when he was 31 years old with the "Poetry of Yao Damei" by Ren Xiong Comparing the "Hundred and Twenty Open Volumes" (Collected by the Palace Museum) and the "Flower Picture Scroll" (Collected by the Palace Museum) painted in the Dabishan Pavilion, it is not difficult to find many similarities between the two. Flowers such as peonies are painted in almost the same way. The method of coloring after sketching is the same. Various flowers are densely interspersed, and the layout is very similar. Their painting techniques and concepts are similar. Zhao wrote in "Twelve Openings of Flowers and Fruits Album for Yuanqing": "When Ren Weichang dies, who can I say?" Both of them are from Zhejiang and have a common friend - Ding Wenwei (alias Lan), the owner of Dabishan Pavilion. Uncle, 1827-1890). Ding and Ren are fellow townsmen, both from Xiaoshan. Ding and Zhao were sworn brothers. Uncle Ding Lan was good at poetry, calligraphy and painting. He had the same interests as Ren and Zhao, and his painting style was similar. From this, we can also know the relationship between them. It can be inferred that Zhao may have been influenced by Ren in his early years, and they painted together and discussed each other's painting principles.

Study classical painting
    From the inscriptions on his paintings, we can see that the painters he adopted include: Wu Zhen, Li Wei, Zhang Yan, Ma Yuanyu, Yun Shouping, Zhang Wei, Wang Wu, Jiang Tingxi, Chen Hongshou, Ji Chen, Li Fangying, Xu Wei, Zou Yigui, Zhou Zhimian, Lu Zhi, Shi Tao, Bian Shoumin, Wang Meng, Qian Zai, Wang Chen, Shen Xiang and so on. Among them, the most mentioned one is Li E, followed by Yun Shouping, Xu Wei and others.

Flower and bird paintings in the early Qing Dynasty, represented by Yun Nantian, studied the boneless method and followed the painting style of Xu Chongsi in the Northern Song Dynasty. The colors were elegant and bright, creating a new trend of the era. For a time, the "Nantian School" was formed. The emergence of the "Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou" eliminated the delicate and delicate ethos of the late Nantian School, and painted with freehand brushwork and majestic momentum. They learned from Xu Qingteng, Chen Baiyang and Bada Shanren, and used calligraphy to paint, pursuing the effect of writing, emphasizing the spirit and despising the form. For a time, they became widely popular among the people. After the "Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou", freehand painting also declined. By the time of Daoguang, the painting world was quite quiet. Zhao Zhiqian was born during this period. Around the first year of Tongzhi (34 years old), he wrote four panels of running script for Youxi. One panel recorded a poem he wrote when he was 10 years old, saying: "When this servant was ten years old, he wrote and painted a sentence of "The Picture of a Cool Pine and the Moon"." According to this. It can be seen that Zhao studied painting when he was young. From the perspective of his handed down paintings, he once studied Yun Nantian's boneless painting method deeply. His drawing, coloring and sketching skills are very good, and the reviewer said that he "learned Yun Shouping's painting method in his youth".
    But Zhao Zhiqian is better at analysis and synthesis. He combined Yun Nantian's boneless painting method with the freehand painting method of "Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou". In particular, he draws on Li Futang's (Eel) freehand brushwork technique and uses "Nantian" coloring to highlight it. The two major flower-and-bird painting schools of the Qing Dynasty were combined into one to create a new style. Because of his profound calligraphy skills and precise grasp of lines, he uses this kind of epigraphic brushwork to outline, which is rough, thick and interesting. He is good at using various fonts for inscriptions and is good at poetry and rhyme. This is also an important factor that makes him stand out from other painters in the late Qing Dynasty and become a painting master. He is a model of the organic combination of poetry, calligraphy, painting and printing.

Looking at Zhao's paintings handed down from generation to generation, the most amazing thing is his painting subjects, which have never been painted before. At the age of 33, he stayed in Wenzhou to escape the war, where he saw novel flowers and seafood. He wrote everything he saw into his paintings, thus greatly expanding the subject matter of his paintings. His "Pictures of Strange Fishes", "Scroll of Products in Ouzhong", "Four Screens of Pictures of Plants and Trees in Ouzhong", etc. have become immortal masterpieces in the history of Chinese painting.

    Due to his superb artistic achievements, artists centered in Shanghai, especially the new generation such as Wu Changshuo, were influenced by Zhao Zhiqian and gradually formed a new school - Shanghai style painting. Pan Tianshou wrote in "History of Chinese Painting": "Zhao Zhiqian, the uncle of Kuaiji, painted flowers with the interest of calligraphy and painting in stone, grand and ancient, and was the first of the Qianhai School." In fact, Zhao Zhiqian's influence was not limited to the sea, Qi Baishi , Chen Shizeng and other northern masters were also influenced by him.
5. Seal cutting career
Don’t use seals to pass down the sword in the prime of life—Zhao Zhiqian’s seal cutting

    Although Zhao Zhiqian carved less than 400 seals in his lifetime, he had reached the pinnacle of seal cutting in the Qing Dynasty. Many of these historical classics have influenced later Wu Changshuo, Huang Mufu, Qi Baishi, Zhao Shuru, Yi Dachang, and the entire seal cutting history of more than a hundred years until now.

seal cutting
    The art of seal cutting (in the modern sense) began in the Ming Dynasty and flourished in the mid-Qing Dynasty. Representatives of Ding Jing and Deng Shiru established sects and formed two major systems: the Zhejiang School and the Anhui School. There are eight schools in Xiling of the Zhejiang School. When Zhao Zhiqian first learned seal cutting, Zhao Cixian and Qian Song were still alive, and there was Wu Rangzhi in the Anhui School. Zhao Zhiqian's family is in Shaoxing, not far from Hangzhou. Due to the traffic and social environment at the time, and due to regional influence, it became inevitable to start with the Zhejiang School. In fact, Zhao Zhiqian started by studying Chen Mansheng. When he was 36 years old, he said: "Young Master Yu studied Mansheng, but after a long time he realized that it was wrong, so he abandoned it." ("Preface to the Seal Book of the Four Family Seals of Hangzhou (Attachment to Erchen)") One thing is certain, he abandoned Mansheng, but he did not abandon it. Zhejiang School. Before he met Wei Jia Sun in Fuzhou at the age of 34, he had always had works imitating the Zhejiang School. Approximately 100 works from this period have been handed down from generation to generation. The earliest works with dates that can be seen now are the 24-year-old Liang Fang: "Shame" and "Li Dexin Xin". At this time, the printing style was obviously the Zhejiang style, but soon it was discovered that Deng Shiru's Anhui style appeared. "Taoshan Shugu", which was carved around the age of 26, has the following title: "After studying the works of Baishan people. This kind of work has become almost extinct in recent times. The common eyes are entrusted to the Wenhe School, and the engraving master is obsessed with the current customs. I don't know how to understand. It's regrettable." The "Ki Zi" engraved in the same period is also imitated by Deng Shiru, while the other "Letter with the Seal of Yu Maochen" says it has "a slight hint of autumn scenery". The "Yi Yu Bai Jian" carved in about the same year and the "Guo Chengxun Seal" carved at the age of 27 are obviously Han seal styles. It can be seen that the works of this period are wavering between the Zhejiang School, the Anhui School, and the Han Dynasty. However, he was not satisfied with the Zhejiang school, the Anhui school and the Han seals. Instead, while seeking the unity of the Zhejiang and Anhui schools, he traced back to the Qin and Han Dynasties, and then extended his tentacles to Han steles, Han mirrors and so on. The breadth of its methods is unprecedented.

     In the winter of Xinyou, Zhao Zhiqian, who was fleeing the chaos in Wenzhou, sailed to Fuzhou at the invitation of Fu Jiezi, an old friend who was an official in Fujian. In March of the following year, Wei Jia Sun came to visit. The two hit it off and became close friends. The friendship between the two has extremely profound significance for Zhao Zhiqian's seal cutting art.

      Although Wei Jia Sun did not engrave seals, he had a sophisticated understanding of seal science and was good at collecting seal records. Zhao Zhiqian's seal was well known, and Wei Zao fell in love with him. When they first met, they gave each other poetry manuscripts, and Zhao Wei wrote calligraphy and painting. After that, they discussed seal theory together and asked Zhao to engrave it. Zhao Zhiqian was good at seal carving, but not good at engraving, "because there are few seals" (section "He Chuanzhu Seal"). Even if he meets a close friend like Wei Jia Sun, he will not show his sword easily. Wei Jia Sun knew that he was a human being, so he used provocation to force him to engrave the seal. First of all, Wei proposed to collect and print musical notation for Zhao. He searched for Zhao's old works, but the collection was only a few dozen square meters, which was not enough to complete the musical notation. Moreover, Zhao Zhiqian himself was not satisfied with the old works. For this reason, Zhao Zhiqian began the most massive engraving in his life, for himself, for Wei Jia Sun, and for friends such as Fu Jiezi. Secondly, when the two discussed seal theory, Wei Jiasun may have deliberately compared Zhao with Ding Jing, Huang Yi and other senior masters, thinking that Zhao was inferior to Ding Huang. This aroused Zhao's creative psychology of competing with the ancients. When Zhao was engraving the seals of "Wei Xizeng" and "Jiasun" for the Wei Dynasty, he engraved the inscription: "The seal of Jiasun Muyu is under Ding and Huang, this may be under Ding and above Huang." Also in "Jiasun Muyu". The inscription on "Zhao Zhiqian's Seal" says: "Long Hong is not so peaceful, and Quan Bai is not so powerful." On the other side, the engraving of "Zhao Zhiqian's Seal" says: "The small seal carved by the people of Baishan is not as good as this work." There is even an inscription in "Songjiang Shuyong Research Imprint" that says: "The method was adopted between the Qin Dynasty and the Han dynasty, and established a family for the six hundred years of imprinting." Zhao Zhiqian, who was originally unwilling to admit defeat and looked down upon the eternity, was inspired to create. Send without receiving. He said in a letter to a friend: "When I was around thirty, I realized that my calligraphy, painting, and seal cutting were not good enough. After Renxu, I devoted myself to opening up new roads and opening up new situations." This desire for innovation should be said to be related to Wei Jia Sun's promotion. Compiling and printing genealogy for Zhao was a key opportunity.

     Wei Jia Sun compiled "Er Jin Die Tang Seal Pu" for Zhao and it was the beginning of Renxu Xia. Zhao Zhiqian's large-scale creation also began at this time. It took about half a year to complete the first draft. In the autumn and winter of the following year, Wei came to Beijing for a short stay, added some new works, and then engraved and sent them. It was not until the Jiazi year that the printed book was completed. In the three years of Renxu, Guihai, and Jiazi (34 to 36 years old), Zhao carved more than 20 squares for Wei Jia Sun, nearly 20 squares for Hu Shu, a colleague and old friend of the same year, and Shen Junchu (pronounced as rhyme), a friend of the Jinshi family. At the beginning), more than 30 square meters were carved. Including his own seals and seals made for other friends, there are more than 200 seals carved in three years, accounting for more than half of Zhao Zhiqian's lifetime seals.

    The direct reason for the large number of meticulous creations should be to supplement the "Er Jindie Hall Seal Book". Another reason is the existence and stimulation of Wu Rangzhi, a senior seal engraver.

Friendship with Wu Rangzhi
   (1799-1870) Zhao Zhiqian, 30 years old, was the only senior seal carving master at that time. When Wei Jia Sun decided to compile "Er Jin Die Tang Seal Pu", he planned to ask Wu to write the preface. In the summer and autumn of Guihai, Wei made a special trip to Taizhou to visit Wu Rangzhi and presented the first draft of "Erjindietang Seal Manual". Wu Ying asked him to write the preface, which said: "Honestity is the most important thing when engraving, and letting the head and feet feel comfortable is troublesome. The Han stele entered the Han seal and was opened by Wanbaishan people, so it is unique through the ages. The engraving by the gentleman has been in Wanwen's room, so why should he praise it more." After Zhao Zhiqian got the preface to the printed genealogy, he thought that Wu did not think as highly of him. His imagination was so high that he only said that he had "completed his wife's life". This may be a big stimulus to Zhao Zhiqian. It also prompted him to create a new situation and surpass the Anhui faction.

     The Zhejiang style can no longer be seen in the works of Erbaifang during this period, and they are diverse in form and rich in changes, and some seals have great contrast. Although Yin Feng failed to unify, it could reflect Zhao Zhiqian's pursuit of opening up a new path.

The "Sad Man" carved when he was about thirty-four years old, the inscription goes: "The engraving method of the Song and Yuan Dynasties forced the seal script of the Qin and Han Dynasties." - Pursue "the book comes in from the seal, and the seal comes out from the book", emphasizing the unity of the knife and pen and the beautiful structure. The "Double-Hook Seal of the Zhao Family in Kuaiji" carved at the age of 35, the "Zhiqian" Continuous Seal, and "Books from the Erjindietang Collection" are among the best.

     About the same year, "Wei Xizeng Seal" was engraved, with a paragraph saying: "This is the most ordinary family, does it have the meaning of Mao?" - Pursuing the realm of plain and mao in Han seals, he founded the modern Shanghai style of sealing represented by Zhao Shuru and Chen Julai. Such works based on Han seals were the main direction of Zhao Zhiqian's white seals during this period. The "Er Golden Butterfly Hall" of the same year, the "Zhao Zhiqian Seal" carved at the age of 35, the "Wu Pan Zu Yin Seal" carved at the age of 36, etc., are all such fine works.

    "Zheng Zhai's Income", carved when he was about thirty-six years old, has the inscription: "It is slightly similar to the coins of the Six Kingdoms." - Taking the bronze inscriptions of the French and Han Dynasties, we pursue the crisp lines, the ingenious structure, and the oddness in the ordinary. "Lingshou Huaguan" and "Gold and Stones Obtained from Jingshan" are such famous works, which are in the style of Huang Mufu's seal. "Longevity is as good as gold and stone" carved when he was 35 years old. The ingenious conception is also the basis of Huang Mufu's seal style.

   The "Seal of Jixi Hushuchuan Sand Shen Shu Yongren and Wei Xizeng Kuaiji Zhao Zhiqian were reviewed and approved at the same time" carved at the age of 35 - in the form of "Laizihou Carved Stone" and in seal script, the pursuit of simplicity and simplicity inspired the cuteness of Wu Changshuo's seal style. The seals "Lingshou Huaguan" (the style is called the Fading Jun Kaifa Xiandao Stele) and other seals are of the same type.

   The "Xizeng Appraisal" carved at the age of 34 was another attempt to go straight to the subject after the "Ding Wenwei" carved at the age of 31, setting a precedent for Qi Baishi.

   The "Julu Wei Family" carved at the age of 35 added cross borders and followed Qin Yin's example, emphasizing both sword and pen. It went a step further on the basis of Deng Shiru and was truly close to Qin Yin, classical and modern. Before that, the so-called "learning from the Qin and Han Dynasties" only meant learning from the Han seals. This practice provided a new model for Wu Changshuo and subsequent Indians. The newly discovered "Inscriptions on Letters and Stones Collected in Lingshouhua Hall " belongs to this category. The eight years after the age of 37 until the age of 44

    Although he also carved several good chapters for himself, including "Bend for Five Pecks of Rice" when he was 38 years old, "An Ding Buddha Reincarnated and Fall into the Saha World as an Ordinary Man" when he was about 41 years old, "Han Xue Ju" when he was 43 years old, and "Han Xue Ju" when he was 44 years old. He also engraved "Ten Volumes of Records of Inscriptions and Stones on People" and so on. This was the period when his sealing style gradually matured. Unfortunately, he only engraved less than 70 square meters in eight years. After rushing to take the exam in 2010 and failing the 4 etiquette exams,

    The 44-year-old Zhao Zhiqian was disheartened and turned to practical matters. He petitioned for distribution and distributed it to the county magistrate in Jiangxi based on the transcripts of the National History Museum. Being an official is his ideal, and he is determined to be a good official who is loved by the people. For this reason, he gave up his hobby of many years - seal cutting. After Ren Shenchun (44 years old) engraved "Ten Volumes of Records of People in Jinshi" for Pan Zuyin , and "Records of People and Books" for Hu Shu, he went south to take office, and from then on he "swore not to do anything" (Zhao's former colleague in Jiangxi Zhang Mingke's "Hansongge Tan Yisuolu"). At the age of 54, he carved "Ci Lan Tang" for Pan Zuyin and said in the inscription: "It has been ten years since I stopped engraving, and my eyes are dim and my hands are hard." This was the only seal carved by Zhao Zhiqian after he went to Jiangxi, and it was also the last seal in his life.

   The lack of close friends was probably an important reason why he did not engrave seals in Jiangxi. He seemed to have lost the driving force behind his seal-cutting creation. Looking at the carvings he made throughout his life, they were all made for himself and his relatives and friends, and there were absolutely no general entertainment works. He once made a living by painting and calligraphy in Hangzhou (age 42). He also had social activities in his later years, but he never made a living by seal cutting , which shows his unwillingness to make a living by seal cutting. It can also be seen that he has a pure interest in the art of seal cutting.

    We can't help but feel sorry for him. After all, he died in his prime. This is a pity for Zhao Zhiqian and a pity in the history of seal cutting.
6. Appreciation of Works
    In the art world of the late Qing Dynasty, there emerged an all-around master who was refreshing in calligraphy, painting, and seal cutting, and that was the well-known Zhao Zhiqian. In calligraphy, Zhao Zhiqian is not only good at official script and regular script, but is also very good at seal script and running script. Interestingly, in "Yu Meng Xing Shu", he made this self-evaluation of his various styles of calligraphy: "Yu Shu can only write formal scripts, seal scripts are more efficient, official scripts are more lax, and I am not good at herbal scripts. I have never learned running script, I can only draft script. However, I have learned seal script all my life, so I can write official script , and only by studying official script can I be able to write regular script." This not only vaguely shows that he is good at seal script, official script, and regular script in calligraphy, but also has a deep understanding of running and regular script . Cursive script is somewhat self-effacing. But what about the facts? Judging from his running script alone, his attainments are actually very high. From an overall perspective, his running calligraphy is plump and graceful, with a strong personal style of "innovation " and a "conventional" side that conforms to the public's appreciation habits.

    A copy of "Wu Zhen Shi" now in Japan can be regarded as one of his masterpieces in running script. As a running script between regular script and cursive script, it is necessary to have an ups and downs style and graceful writing skills when creating , so that it can be written with ease and in harmony with the mood on the paper. The tone of Zhao Zhiqian's writing in this post is undoubtedly solid and agile. It is said to be solid, whether it is dots and strokes, whether it is lifting or pressing, all have clear beginnings and endings, and are explained clearly, without any ambiguity or delay. It can be seen that the spirit is very concentrated when writing; it is said to be agile, and the writing is heavy. It is not turbid or stagnant, and the blood flows through the light strokes, and the hairspring is hidden, and it is quite handy. As for the direction of using the front, it is also a matter of adapting to the situation, alternating with each other, and not following the usual rules. The most distinctive feature of the writing is that it is plump but not fleshy, fresh but not explicit. This is a rare and valuable aspect of the writing in "Wuzhen Poetry".

    Judging from the word knot, it is also very ingenious. In every word, there is a center where the spirit is tied together, and then the center stretches out to the four sides. This is the so-called gathering and releasing. For example , in the sentence "Dusk clouds are more desolate than the forest", the spiritual knot of each character is almost concentrated in the upper center of the character. Of course, this is based on routine, and there are many things that go against the grain, which shows how adaptable it is to adapting to circumstances. The sparse parts of the work can be moved by horses, but the dense parts cannot be ventilated. For example, the character "爱" is dense at the top and sparse at the bottom, the character "澹" is sparse at the left and dense at the right, etc., which are also relatively typical. This creates a strong artistic contrast between white and black, a strong contrast between dense and sparse. In terms of weight and weight of the pen, if the left side is insufficient, the left side will be heavier, and if the right side is insufficient, the right side will be heavier. This method is also used for other upper, lower, and inner areas, such as the exaggeration of the word "wind". The left side is tilted downward, and the word "yue" is exaggerated next to the word "jin", which shows Zhao Zhiqian's unique ingenuity.

    In the era when calligraphy was declining and stem study was rising, Zhao Zhiqian not only elaborated on it theoretically and contributed to the popularity of Beibei, but also used innovative Beibei calligraphy to sweep away the weak calligraphy style caused by calligraphy and pavilion style. Great work. Zhao Zhiqian's calligraphy of the North Stele style had reached maturity around the age of forty. He took advantage of all the monuments and understood the meaning of the writing, paying special attention to the spirit and strength.

Mr. Sha Menghai, a leading figure in contemporary calligraphy circles, commented in his article "Calligraphy in the Past Three Hundred Years": "Mo Youzhi is the best at learning Deng Shi's seal script, followed by Zhao Zhiqian and Wu Xizai."

7. Market conditions

    Zhao Zhiqian's works are very popular among collectors, especially collectors in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. His works are rare and difficult to imitate. Buyers feel reassured, so prices are high and stable. In the Hong Kong market, the starting price of Zhao Zhiqian's works is relatively high. When they were first sold in 1986, they reached HK$45,000. In 1987, just one fan reached HK$40,000. In 1989, only two works were sold. One was a four-panel "Official Script" for HK$200,000; the other was a horizontal painting of "Sui Chao Qing Fu" for HK$210,000. In 1990, only two works were sold. One was a fan of "Peony Calligraphy" for HK$38,500, and the other was a four-panel "Flowers", which reached HK$3.52 million in one fell swoop. This work is extremely exquisite. The four paintings are painted with peonies, wisterias, osmanthus, and plum blossoms respectively. The colors are bright and the pictures are full of joy. It arouses great interest among buyers and the competition is fierce. This work set a record for the highest price ever paid for a Qing Dynasty painter's work.

    Zhao Zhiqian's calligraphy and bamboo carvings are very rare. The piece shown in the album is from the Art Center Library of the Asian Cultural Institute in the United States (collected by Chongde Xuanyintang).