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Explore The Origins of Shutiaoshi, Chinese Calligraphy Stone Slabs

Published on Feb 21, 2023

You can explore the historical origins of shutiaoshi, commonly known as calligraphy stone slabs in the Huntongtopn Library’s wonderful Chinese gardens. Dr. Lei Xue, a pre-modern Chinese calligraphy and painting researcher from Oregon State University, will delve into the background and cultural significance of these stone slabs during the lecture. He will examine how these stones were originally made to produce compendia of ink rubbings, known as fatie, which served as copybooks for calligraphers.

Dr. Xue will also discuss how the trend of installing shutiaoshi in gardens may have had earlier precedents, but was largely reinvented during a politically charged interaction between the Manchu emperor Qianlong and cultural elites in the southern region of Jiangnan. The display of these stones in gardens also presaged a modern form of spectatorship that differed from the traditional way of viewing calligraphy.

The lecture is part of the East Asian Garden Lecture Series and will take place on Thursday, February 23, 2023, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The event is free with reservation and will be held at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in California. Xue’s primary research field is pre-modern Chinese calligraphy and painting, and he has published extensively on the subject in premium academic journals in the field. This is an excellent opportunity for those interested in East Asian art and culture to deepen their understanding of the cultural significance of these calligraphy stone slabs in Chinese gardens.

The event will be held Thursday, February 23, from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. It is free wiith a reservation, at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. For more information call: 626-405-2100 or click here:

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