Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB


Hong Liangji—one of the most famous calligraphers of the Qing dynasty—excelled in seal script, as seen in this example. The oldest type of Chinese writing and one of the most difficult to master, seal script was originally used for oracle bone and bronze inscriptions. It became the preferred form of writing for formal occasions such as eulogies, especially for one’s ancestors. Today this style of archaic script is often used for the characters on seals—hence the name. In the confines of a rectangular or square space the characters are centered on their vertical axis, symmetrically balanced. Stylistically, the beginning and end of a stroke are generally round and smooth.

Hong Liangji
Chinese, 1746–1809
18th century
Ink on paper
59 x 10 7/8 in. (106.203 x 19.36 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift from the Collection of Dr. Thomas Kuebler, 2014.67