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Title: Challenging the calligraphy canon : the reception of rubbing collections in Ming China
Author: Ng, Sau Wah
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Calligraphic rubbing collections or rubbing collections of model calligraphy (fatie 法帖) are frequently described as a source of canonical models for the learning of calligraphy. They are often associated with and usually refer to the calligraphy of the Two Wangs (Wang Xizhi 王羲之, 303-61, or 321-79, and his son Xianzhi 獻之, 344-86). They also became acknowledged as embodying the classical tradition transmitted mostly from the Jin (265-420) Dynasty, one which was well-known as the calligraphy canon. In general, recent scholarship on rubbing collections holds that rubbing collections often transmitted important and highly recognized works which represented the classical tradition or calligraphy canon. This thesis aims to analyze how Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) people received new forms of rubbing collections, and explores some of their social roles in Ming China. Apart from traditional concerns, for instance for the aesthetic value and the origins of various editions of rubbing collections, other aspects of rubbing collections of the Ming, for example, socio-historical and material culture perspectives, have not been explored in detail. The development of this form of calligraphy reproduction in China is important as an instance, alongside original works of calligraphy, of how the history of calligraphy was created and contested. The thesis will evaluate which calligraphers were chosen to be reproduced in rubbing form, which of their works were included, and what proportion of rubbing collections their work occupied, as well as who the patrons were and when the collections were published. An analysis of this information will show how the rubbing collections challenged the calligraphy canon and facilitated social mobility between various social groups particularly, scholars-officials, merchants and commoners. It will be demonstrated that Ming rubbing collections were no longer exclusively devoted to the traditional canon, nor did they contain only calligraphy of high aesthetic value. Calligraphy after masterpieces written in the copiers’ own styles and writings of those without significant reputations in calligraphy were made into rubbing collections as well. The thesis will attempt to show the cause(s) for this change.
Supervisor: Clunas, Craig Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Art ; Visual art and representation ; History of art and visual culture ; Chinese rubbings ; calligraphy ; Ming dynasty ; China ; reproductions ; reception