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“Tossing the brush”? Wu Zhiying (1868–1934) and the uses of calligraphy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reinterprets the historical meanings of Wu Zhiying's calligraphic practice, especially its formal side, by framing the inquiry in such a way as to allow us to reenter the field of cultural production during the last decade of the Qing era and early days of the Republic. It then focuses on the constructions of the artistic persona in conjunction with the cultural and social formations of the time, which entails a close examination of the specific conventions, constraints, practice, and prevalent methods of interpreting calligraphy. For it is within such a field that the artist forged her identity and inscribed herself in the unfolding of modern Chinese history. A factor, a much more material one, that enabled Wu to publish the epitaph was the capital and technology of her husband?s publishing firm.

Keywords: calligraphy; Qing era; Wu Zhiying



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