|Regulated Verse in Seven Characters|
Chang Yü (1283-1350), Yüan Dynasty (1279-1368)
This particular piece of calligraphy reveals Chang Yü's unique way of ordering the individual characters as well as structuring the composition. The calligraphy is full of twists and turns, rises and falls, and pauses and climaxes. Said by Ming dynasty (1368-1644) writers to combine formal and informal elements from the styles of such calligraphers as Li Yung (678-747) and Huai-su (725-777), Chang's style is a dramatic departure from that of his contemporary Chao Meng-fu. In fact, Chang once studied calligraphy under Chao, and his running and standard scripts clearly reveal Chao's influence. This scroll, however, goes against traditional standards of beauty to reveal a wilder and bolder side. The manner of Ou-yang Hsün is also sometimes seen, but the characters appear to have been composed as if in a drunken stupor. Chang Yü helped pioneer a new chapter in the art of calligraphy and influenced other Yüan and later styles. Here, ink ranges from dark to dry, as if this Taoist had just awoken from intoxication to capture the fleeting traces of inspiration, accounting for the spirited and charged brushwork of the piece much in the manner of Huai-su's "Autobiography" also in the Museum collection. Furthermore, the range between regular, running, and cursive scripts reveals his all-encompassing talents in calligraphy.