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Back Masterpiece Chu Suiliang 褚遂良, one of the Four Great Calligraphers of Early Tang Dynasty

Chu Suiliang 褚遂良, one of the Four Great Calligraphers of Early Tang Dynasty

Chu Suiliang 褚遂良, one of the Four Great Calligraphers of Early Tang Dynasty

Chu Suiliang (褚遂良, 597-658), Chinese Calligrapher, Politician, one of the Four Great Calligraphers of Early Tang Dynasty (Ouyang Xun欧阳询, Yu Shinan虞世南, Xue Ji薛稷), courtesy name Dengshan (登善), formally Duke of Henan (河南公), was a chancellor of the Tang Dynasty, during the reigns of Emperor Taizong and Emperor Gaozong.

Chu Suiliang was born in 597, during the reign of Emperor Wen of Sui. His father Chu Liang (褚亮) had been a mid-level official during both Chen Dynasty and Sui Dynasty, and was known for his literary abilities. After Emperor Wen's death in 604, Chu Liang continued to serve Emperor Wen's son Emperor Yang, but Emperor Yang was jealous of his abilities, and when the general Yang Xuangan rebelled in 613 and was quickly defeated, he accused Chu Liang of being friendly with Yang Xuangan and demoted him to be the census official for the distant Xihai Commandery (西海, in modern Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai). Chu Suiliang followed his father there.

 

In 617, when the agrarian rebel leader Xue Ju rose against Sui rule and declared himself the Emperor of Qin, Chu Liang and Chu Suiliang both joined Xue's administration. Chu Liang became a mid-level official, while Chu Suiliang became a low-level official. After Xue Ju's death in 618, his son and successor Xue Rengao was defeated by the Tang Dynasty general Li Shimin the Prince of Qin (the son of Tang's founding emperor Emperor Gaozu). Li Shimin spared Chu Liang and Chu Suiliang, and Chu Liang joined Li Shimin's staff, while Chu Suiliang remained at Qin Prefecture (秦州, roughly modern Tianshui, Gansu) to serve on the staff of the commandant at Qin Prefecture. His activities thereafter, until 636, were not recorded in history, although it was mentioned that he was well-studied in literature and history, and was a talented calligrapher, drawing praise from his father's friend Ouyang Xun, himself a famous calligrapher.

 

Chu was well-studied in literature and history, and was a talented calligrapher, drawing praise from his father's friend Ouyang Xun (欧阳询), himself a famous calligrapher. It was recorded that Emperor Taizong once commented to Chancellor Wei Zheng that after Yu Shinan (虞世南)'s death, there was no one that he could discuss calligraphy with.

 

Upon hearing this, Wei recommended Chu's calligraphy. Emperor Taizong immediately summoned Chu and was very surprised at his calligraphy skills. When, on one occasion, Emperor Taizong put out notices of rewards, requesting that people submit works of the great Jin Dynasty calligrapher Wang Xizhi (王羲之) to him, many people submitted purported works of Wang, and it became difficult to tell which were genuine and which were forged. Chu was put in charge of discerning these purported works, and he was able to clearly distinguish them.

 

Chu Suiliang became increasingly trusted by Emperor Taizong toward the end of his reign and was charged with the responsibilities of serving as the imperial historian and providing honest advice. At Emperor Taizong's death, Chu was entrusted with the responsibilities of assisting Emperor Gaozong, along with Emperor Gaozong's uncle Zhangsun Wuji. In 655, over his strenuous opposition to Emperor Gaozong's removal of his first wife Empress Wang and replacing her with Empress Wu (later known as Wu Zetian), Chu was demoted, for a series of times, eventually to be the prefect of the extremely distant Ai Prefecture (愛州, roughly modern Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam). He died in exile in 658.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 15:27