Jinjin Le


Inkstone in the Tang and Song dynasties underwent a change from being made of pottery to stone. The number of inkstone inscriptions increased dramatically following the trend among writers who collected inkstones in the Northern Song dynasty, and these writers were represented by Su Shi and Huang Tingjiang, with particular writing paradigms. Continuing the concern about the material beauty of inscription writing in the Tang dynasty, Su Shi focused on the artistic display of the beauty of inkstone, thus completing his attempt to write inscriptions in the form of poetry. In contrast, Huang Tingjian endeavored to reconcile the material beauty of the inkstone with the ethical and admonitory function of the inscription and thus achieved such a goal through the virtueanalogy writing. The approach to writing inkstone inscription in the Southern Song dynasty was akin to Huang Tingjians paradigm, because of the inclusion of inscription into the official examination, the standards of which could be fulfilled by Huangs style. Due to a significant shortage of inkstone materials in the Southern Song dynasty, the symbolic expression of inkstone as a vehicle of auspiciousness was embedded into the description of the material beauty and ethical value of the inscriptions, yielding a threestage conceptualization of the writing of inkstone inscriptions.


inscriptions on inkstone;Su Shi;Huang Tingjian;aesthetic pursuit;virtue-analogy

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