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Nine Forces Essay (九勢, Chinese: Jiǔ shì)

A calligraphy theory book written by 蔡邕 (Cài Yōng, 133 - 192 C.E.), a skilled calligrapher, talented musician, painter, astronomer and writer. 九勢 was an essay discussing proper brush technique, and became the most influential and powerful quintessence of calligraphic knowledge ever composed. It also helped to develop and form future styles. Cài Yōng took his inspiration from natural forces, from his observation and understanding of the cosmic cycles.

The legend says that kaisho was created by a minister of the Cao Wei dynasty (曹魏, 220 -265 C.E.) named 鍾繇 (Zhōng Yáo, 151 - 230 C.E.), after years devoted to perfecting his brush techniques, and deeply influenced by the “Nine Forces Essay”. Today, we know that it was not so. Nonetheless, Zhōng Yáo’s kaisho (楷書, かいしょ, i.e. “standard script”) is very powerful and often serves as a model for studying calligraphy (also see: 臨書, りんしょ, rinsho, i.e. “to copy masterpieces”).

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Page last modified on November 02, 2011, at 10:12 AM