Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644)


 Ming Dynasty Territory


The Yuan Dynasty had a very short span of history. In less than 100 years the majority Han people overthrew the Mongolian government and established the Ming Dynasty. Later another minority, the Mam people, from the north defeated the Han people in 1644 and established the Ching Dynasty.


Many books and some websites state that the Ming Dynasty had the lowest achievement in Chinese calligraphy. Such conclusion and judgement are not fair. Some of the works listed here by not-so-famous calligraphers in the “Miscellaneous Ming Dynasty Treasures” were at no less than the works of the famous calligraphers in other dynasties (except before Tang.) The level of their art, either from theoretical or esthetic points of view, would negate such unfair and biased statement.


·        Wen Zheng-Ming  (1470-1559): He learned calligraphy from Lee In-Zen, Wu Kuan, and Zhu Yuen-Ming. He was especially renowned for his Tsao Shu and  small-scale calligraphy in Kai Shu.



·        Dong Chi-Tsun (1555-1636): He studied works by Yen Jen-Ching, Yu Shu-Nan and Huang Ting-Jian. He despised Wen Zheng-Ming and Zhu Yuen-Ming and he also pointed out the defects of Zhao Meng-Fu's calligraphy. The Tsao Style work below shows his intention to mimic Huai Su’s autobiography. He was also a famous painter. His calligraphy was favored by most emperors and scholars in the Ming and Ching Dynasties.

Dong's writing in Yen Jen-Ching's Style



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Dong_Kai2.jpg (248836 bytes)Dong_Kai1.jpg (300699 bytes)

Colophon of Zhang Shui's "Four Poems in Tsao Style"



·        Wang Tsong  (1494-1533): He was regarded as Wen Zheng-Ming’s successor yet died before him at age 40. His calligraphy was full of interesting mood and structures.


·        Wen Chia  (1501-1583): He resembled his father, Wen Zheng-Ming, in his calligraphy style. The Kai Style shown below is his postface for Huai Su’s “1000 Characters in Tsao Shu."



·        Sung Ke  (1327-1387): He was the leading calligrapher among the “Three Sungs & Two Sengs (    )” in the early Ming Dynasty. The Tsao Style work here is a writing adapted from an important calligraphy theory “Ten Methods of Brush Treatment” by Zhang Huai-Guan of the Tang Dynasty.



·        Zhu Yuen-Ming   (1460-1526): He was especially renowned for his Kai and Tsao Styles.



·        Tang Ying   (1470-1523): He was a famous poet, painter, and calligrapher. Because of his achievement and fame, there had been many fake duplicates and imitations of his works.

TangYing1.JPG (581121 bytes)



·        Wang So-Ren   (1472-1528): He was one of the most important philosophers of the Neo-Confucianism.



More Chinese Calligraphers in the Ming Dynasty 

1.    Zhou Tien-Chiu (a friend of Wen Zheng-Ming)


2.    Guae Yen-Liang (a government officer)



3.    Shen Du 沈 度 (a government officer)


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