I recently had a lovely visit from Richmond’s Anna Zhao, who studies and practices calligraphy in the Shou Jin style. She came bearing gifts — including this gorgeous fan on which she had written my name.
She gave me this background information: The ‘Shou Jin’ style (literal translation being “slender gold”) was developed by empire Zhao Jie of the Song dynasty from AD1082-1135.
He was a very talented artists gifted in various forms of artwork including water colour painting and stamps. He was also known to have hosted many events promoting and celebrating various forms of art. The ‘Shou Jin’ style was carried on to his son Zhao Gou who further developed the structure and appearance.
Zhao Jie and his son Zhao Gou are regarded as an odd pair in Chinese history because it was rare for a father and his son to become calligraphers when being a part of a Chinese royal family. Although they are well respected and admired by millions of Chinese today for their art, they were both bad with dealing with country affairs. That is the reason for the idiomatic saying “Doing things as badly as the empire of the Song dynasty” we often hear today.
Thank you, Anna!