||Chang Chao was an artist with quite reputation in the Great Prosperity during the reigns of Emperor KangXi, YongZheng, and QianLong of Qing dynasty. He was remarkable in various fields such as calligraphy, painting, poetry, music, drama, etc. His distinguishing calligraphy was valued by the three emperors as the image of emperors’ calligraphy. However, as the rise of epigraphy in the middle period of Qing, Chang Chao had been forgotten and few people heard about him ever since. Whereas seldom diploma theses focus on Chang Chao, the present study discusses the achievement of Chang Chao in calligraphy regardless of his genius and attainment in other fields.
Chang Chao had revealed his talent in calligraphy since his teens. As he started his official career, he was admired by Emperor KangXi for his calligraphy and became emperor’s courtier. Chapter two introduces Chang Chao’s life and career and his fulfilment of work.
Chapter three discusses Chang Chao’s learning process and theory in calligraphy. He was a follower and practitioner in “practicing calligraphy after paper-based model work” and argued a paper-based master sheet was better than an epigraph-based when practicing. Furthermore, he believed laying foundation was the first step in practicing calligraphy by which the “Thousand Character Classic” was the best role model. Then one had to practice hard to success. The romantic charm was the most important characteristic in either imitating a model work or creating one’s own work. Additionally, one’s self cultivation and knowledge, both essential in practicing calligraphy, would be accumulated and integrated as one’s insight and subsequently the realization of philosophy of nature.
Chapter four focused on Chang Chao’s achievement in calligraphy and appraisal received from the three emperors and other calligraphers. Except for Emperor QianLong’s words “No one could be comparable to Wang Xizhi except for Chang Chao”, most of calligraphers also admired Chang Chao quite much.
As the rise of epigraphy in the middle period of Qing, Chang Chao was recognized as a Guangeti calligrapher due to his ghostwriting for Emperor QianLong. He was denounced by calligraphers worshipped epigraph-based practicing since his stand for practicing calligraphy after paper-based model work. Chapter five concentrated on the changing of Chang Chao’s historical position in different periods.
The present study discussed the achievement and theory addressed by Chang Chao in calligraphy. His experience serves as a reference for us in practicing calligraphy and understanding the Guangeti calligraphy. It is suggested knowing more about other Guangeti calligraphers like Chang Chao, seeing their masterpieces, appreciating them fairly, and revising their historical position.