Eight-Character Couplet in Seal Script by Qian Dian, Qing Dynasty


Chinese calligraphy is a writing art of Chinese characters and epitome of the long history of the Chinese nation. Seal script is the most ancient typeface of Chinese characters, which was the official font admitted during the period from pre-Qin to the early Han Dynasty. The seal-script calligraphic art ushered in the third peak during the Qing Dynasty. This Eight-character Couplet in Seal Script is exactly a masterpiece of the famous seal-script calligrapher Qian Dian during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. 

Qian Dian was from Jiading, Jiangsu. He was a distant nephew of the famous historian Qian Daxin and once worked as the Assistant Magistrate of Qian Prefecture. Qian Dian was proficient in exegetical studies, Confucian classics and history, geography, Chinese bronze inscriptions and stone steles, metal and stone carving, and plum-blossom painting. He was famous for his small seal script calligraphy. He was inspired by Li Yangbing's Stele of Town God's Temple and absorbed the simplicity and dignity of inscriptions on bronzeware in seal script, which was thus provided with distinct characteristics of inscriptions on bronze wares. The first line of this eight-character couplet goes: "with the beautiful scene in a good day, I hold a cheerful disposition for a happy event"; the second line goes "with glorious and flowery poetic prose, I am interested in ancient art and extensive learning". The characters are slim, long and well-proportioned in structure. The turning spots of some strokes are integrated with the calligraphic characteristics and corner angles of bronzeware inscriptions. This scroll is written in airtight art of composition, plump yet not stuffed demeanor. The strokes are forceful and filled with majestic breadth of spirit.