|Letter to Officer-Gentleman Tu|
Ts'ai Hsiang (1012-1067), Sung Dynasty (960-1279)
This letter (also known as "Leaving the City") was written by Ts'ai Hsiang in a period of mourning for the loss of his eldest son (1055), but for the most part Ts'ai still maintains his poise of vigor and beauty in calligraphy. Nonetheless, a few strokes of the brush still reveal fluctuations of emotion that transmit the pain that he must have felt as he was writing. The brushwork here is rounded and solid, while also flowing and wandering, thus revealing Ts'ai's complete success in traditional calligraphic studies. In the flowing grace of the brush movement in the few characters, the forms and structure are enchanting, while the generous spacing of the character structure and the hook method here conform to that of Yen Chen-ch'ing.