Drawing the Golden Needle - Reading "China in the Seal"

author:Bright Net

Author: Wang Jiakui (Vice Chairman of Sichuan Calligraphy Association)

Calligraphy and seal carving are the two most local Chinese arts, and the creation of calligraphy in the 20th century is a matter of merit; Although the seal carving business is only within a square inch, its achievements far exceed those of the ancients, and critics are no different from this. Since Wu Changshuo, the outstanding are invincible, and Mr. Han Tianheng is also one of the masters of opening up the atmosphere. Mr. Tianheng's calligraphy and painting printing are three links, and the seal engraving is particularly exquisite, and the specific achievements involve three aspects: printing science, printing art and printing words.

Compared with calligraphy, the literati paid attention to seal carving late, and the special research began around the time of Wu Qiuyan's "Xue Gu Compilation" in the Yuan Dynasty, and the subsequent books were still mainly generalized, until Sha Menghai's "History of Printing Studies" and Luo Fuyi's "Introduction to Ancient Seal Seals" began to interpret seals in modern academic language. Mr. Tianheng's earliest work on printing was the compilation of "Selected Papers on Printing Studies of the Past Dynasties" (Xiling Printing Society), although there were compilations of seal documents such as Gu Xiang's "Trivial Writings on Seal Studies" in the Qing Dynasty, "Selected Papers on Printing Studies of the Past Dynasties" is still of interest to the candidates. Mr. Xie Zhiliu's statement of "diligent proofreading, discerning and discriminating falsehoods, examining and explaining doubts, and obtaining 600,000 words, which is both sincere and refined, is sincerely the grand view of the ancient and modern printing series", which is indeed not a false reputation.

Drawing the Golden Needle - Reading "China in the Seal"

"The Seal of Service". In the third year of the Wanli Ming Dynasty (1575), Gu Congde commissioned King Luo Changji, which was expanded according to the original rubbings of the "Gu Family Collection of Ancient Seals" and copied by woodblock printing. There is a Wang Wandeng order before the score, which has been known as "Yinwei" since the beginning of the Wang clan, hence the name. Image from "China in the Seal"

While compiling and selecting the papers on printing, Mr. Tianheng also compiled the birth, death, and important activities, major events in the printing world, and some seal works into the Chronology of Chinese Printing Studies (Shanghai Calligraphy and Painting Publishing House), which has been supplemented many times, and there are still sequels. In his own words: "If you occasionally gain, you will spend all night, and record them one by one, and the body is tired of toiling and the happiness of the small people becoming rich." ”

Zhou Lianggong's "Legend of the Indians" divides seal carving into two factions, fierce and peaceful, the former represented by Wu Changshuo, and the latter Zhao Shuxiu as the leading figure. If we use painting as a metaphor, Wu Changshuo is a master of freehand, and Zhao Shuxiu is a holy hand of work. Although the two factions are not at odds, when it comes to artistic expression, especially the personality of the creator, the neat school is slightly inferior. Mr. Tianheng is from Fang Jiekan, a disciple of Uncle Zhao, and Yuanzhu, Yuyin, and Birdworm Seal are all masters. In the end, as Sha Menghai said, the achievement "opened up a new realm for modern printing", thanks to the encouragement of Mr. Fang Quyan.

In the afterword to the "Han Tianheng Printing Selection" published in the early years, Mr. Tianheng told a short story, saying that when he was 23 years old, he asked Mr. Fang Quqian with a printed manuscript, and after careful examination, he said: "You can change." Although Han Qian said, "I am afraid that the foundation is not enough", and a seed of "change" has been sown since then, and finally blossoms and bears fruit. In 1996, I began to write "The Record of the Point Generals of the Modern Printing Temple", quoting this incident and saying: "It is this 'change' character that has made Han Tianheng, just like the Water Margin, 'Mrs. Hong unveils the Heavenly Master Talisman', and if he continues this "Record of the Pointers" by a good deed, he will undoubtedly take the first place in Tianheng." At that time, there was a praise: "Recognize Han Hui's eyes and gold needles, and the kapok robe is entrusted to the beginning." ”

Mr. Tianheng's seal carving, seal and knife techniques have formed a very personal artistic language, and what is especially valuable is that he summarizes these technical issues theoretically, and never hesitates to pass on his experience in the form of words and lectures. As Mr. Sun Weizu said, "Mr. Han has always been doing popular things, and although he is at the forefront of his professional field, he is keen to do some popular things and never forgets this." From the beginning of 1984, he went to school to teach and founded correspondence classes for the whole country. The achievements in this aspect have played a very important leading role in contemporary seal carving, especially the growth of generations of young people and the construction of contemporary techniques and language systems in the entire Chinese printing world. ”

Mr. Tianheng's third contribution to printing is the Indian language. Like poetry, Yin Yu is not only a Bagua Zhang of Indian people and Indian affairs, but also has deep cultural connotations to be extended in just a few words. The shallow level of Indian language is related to the author's learning, knowledge, smell, and literary brilliance, and the "Tianheng Seal" published in the early years can be called a masterpiece.

Drawing the Golden Needle - Reading "China in the Seal"

He Zhen engraved the stone seal of "King Sun of Fangcao". This Ming Dynasty Qingtian stone seal, with "Snow Fishing" (He Zhen) model, the printing surface is engraved "Fangcao Wang Sun", seal master Han, with a knife and vigorous, the lines are more He Zhen's habitual swallowtail habit. Image from "China in the Seal"

In the current era of light reading, readers have little interest in long stories, and Chung Hwa Book Company has launched Mr. Tianheng's new book "China in the Seal of Seals", which introduces the culture of printing to the public in simple terms, which is in line with the purpose of "pen and ink with the times".

"China in the Seal" is divided into three parts, corresponding to Mr. Tianheng's three achievements in printing learning, printing art and printing speech. The "Origin of Seal Seals" discusses the key issues in the history of printing in a tone of speech, and asks interesting questions, such as why the genre seal originated in the Ming Dynasty and why the seal culture flourished in Jiangnan. Taking the rise of the Ming and Qing dynasty schools of printing as an example, Mr. Tianheng mentioned that the ancient seal collection custom began in the middle and late Ming Dynasty, the publication of ancient seals in the Qin and Han dynasties, Qingtian stone became the mainstream of printing materials, and the literati participated in the seal carving game for the purpose of "sublime ancient leisure", so "these factors come together, and it is difficult for seal carving art not to produce a second peak."

This part is entitled "Twenty Indians and Five Hundred Years", which highly summarizes the history of printing in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the subtitle shows the central idea. For example, in the past 500 years, there have only been the following "brave and enterprising newcomers": Wen Peng and He Zhen cleansing the pattern; Wang Guan, Zhu Jian, and Su Xuan opened up new voices; Xiling Eight Everyone; Master Deng Shiru; Keep pace with the times Zhao Zhiqian; Wu Changshuo, a family of his own; Modern master Qi Baishi. Others are "basekeepers who settle for the status quo". And asserted: "The few innovators who marked the era have added glorious pages to the history of youth, creating and continuing to write a history of development and innovation of the glorious genre of seal carving art." "It's a very creative view of art history.

There are also many wonderful details, such as on the eight families of Xiling, Ding Jing is the originator, and its "new style, great influence, great reputation, and many followers are beyond the reach of the ancients"; Although Qian Song obtained the law from the Zhejiang school, he "seemed to be childish but subtle, slack and solemn, meaning to be elegant and ancient, and washed away the habits of writers", and believed that "if viewed from the characteristics of art, it is inappropriate to push Qian Song to the top of the eight families". For Qian Song, "this is not an honor, but rather a disparagement of his artistic achievements"; It is said that Zhao Zhichen "Master Fa Ding Jing, the most refined and skillful, but mature does not regenerate, mature does not seek change, is bound to fester."

The novella, "Knowledge and Action", talks about the art of printing. Taking his own artistic experience as a clue, he lists in turn a number of contradictions and opposites, such as determination and troubleshooting, loneliness and brilliance, jamming and breaking through, printing inside and outside, beauty and majesty, knife stone and pen and ink, tradition and innovation, hard work and talent, technique and culture, praise and criticism, single-mindedness and bypass, blossoming and fruit, "bondage" and "breaking bondage", plus the prohibition of hasty printing, partial food, antiquity, craftsmanship, singleness, and complacency, which are combined into the "Twenty Ways of Practicing Seals".

The 20 Laws are all honest remarks that are heartfelt, without any pretense. For example, in "Avoiding Hasty", it is said: "When I was young, I was very naïve, and I often did not write the engraving, painted ink, picked up a knife and carved, and showed my ability." In my thirties at Mr. Li Keran's house, Li Lao and I had a deep friendship and talked very closely. He asked me to engrave it, and I thought I'd do it on the spot. Ten minutes carved three parties, and Mr. Li Keran also praised me. When he went out, he said to me, 'Tianheng, I send you a word, called genius must not be defeated. This sentence had a great impact on the rest of my life. ”

Drawing the Golden Needle - Reading "China in the Seal"

"China in the Seal", by Han Tianheng, China Bookstore

Drawing the Golden Needle - Reading "China in the Seal"

Guanzhong Houyin. Wei Jin's previous pure gold official seals have only seen about 60 buttons. The Three Kingdoms Wei "Guanzhong Houyin" weighs 138 grams and is precious. Image from "China in the Seal"

Similarly, Mr. Tianheng has detailed instructions on knife transportation and knife techniques, details collection, copying of predecessors' works, and even printing materials, the most noteworthy of which is "Printing Talk". Different from the creation of calligraphy and painting, the "finished product" of seal carving art is actually the imprint of the seal cover on the paper, and this link may not always be completed by the creator, and the improper method of covering the work reduces the color. The so-called "method of sealing" is actually the "payment order" of the seal engraver to the owner of the seal. In the past, Zhao Zhiqian engraved many huge seals for Pan Zuyin, and he wrote letters repeatedly instructing the "method of sealing", which shows its importance. Relatively speaking, the content of this section is a little brief, and there are almost no illustrations, if Mr. Tianheng has time, he may be able to expand it into a small illustrated book dedicated to stamping, which will benefit future learning.

The next part, "Indian People and Printing Affairs", belongs to the nature of Indian language. Using schemas to analyze the arrangement of Deng Shiru's giant seal of "the river has a sound and breaks the bank of a thousand feet"; Introducing Wu Rangzhi's self-used square bamboo four-sided seal and his posthumous works in his later years; Examine Wu Changshuo's later swordsman; Evaluate Qian Liantie as a "super Indian person"; Introduce anecdotes about mentor Fangjie; Discuss Lai Chu Sheng's artistic achievements. Finally, the temple uses the "Doulu Seal Story" to tell the story of small discoveries in the collection and play. Incidentally, the "Jianyin Essay" arranged at the end of the Central Edition is also essentially a seal, and may be merged with the seal story and placed in the lower part, which is more complete.

"China in the Seal of Seal" is not grand among Mr. Tianheng's many works, printing learning, printing art, printing words, the essence of the three-in-one, worthy of the golden needle of people. Sui threw Wu Mengchang's "Xiqiuhua Qixi" concluding sentence "Degree of golden needle, diffuse square inch", and inverted B was used as the title of the small article. Before the words were finished, he gathered the wise words as praise: "Elder Hanshan is as idle as he is (Li Huang), and he does not hesitate to spend the world with golden needles (Chen Xianzhang). The selection of stones is all based on square inches of land (cheng vulture), and more colored pens are added to write Zheng Xiao (Gong Dingxiao). ”

Guangming Daily(2023.09.23.12)

Source: Guangming Network - Guangming Daily

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