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Web of Proceedings - Francis Academic Press

Concept of Cursive Writing in the Northern Song Dynasty

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DOI: 10.25236/icallh.2020.042


Shuo Jin

Corresponding Author

Shuo Jin


Throughout the history of calligraphy, the calligraphy style of the Song Dynasty is referred to as “pro-conception”. However, the cursive writing art in this period developed at a slower speed than that in the Jin and Tang Dynasties, few works of cursive writing were left, and sparse masters of cursive writing appeared. This paper attempts to take a closer look at the historical context, imperial examination system and the fervor for “books of rubbings” in the Northern Song Dynasty, in order to present the milestones of cursive writing concept in this period, and what changes happened to the concept of cursive writing under the influence of Chan-Buddhism Thought. The alteration of the imperial examination system of the Northern Song Dynasty deprived the standardized form of Chinese characters from a significant role. As a consequence, more attention was turned to cursive script. "Books of rubbings” as a new form of calligraphy retained a lot of letter scripts of previous dynasties, and made it very popular in the Northern Song Dynasty. With this form of calligraphy, calligraphers can express their feelings to the utmost, which in turn drove the development of cursive script.


Cursive writing, Concept, Pro-conception, Jin personality