A model of Cao Quan Stele (臨 曹全碑)
68 X 45cm in Clerical Script (隸書)
The original Cao Quan Stele
(a stele is a stone tablet inscribed with words) was made and installed in the Han Dynasty (185 AD) in memory of Cao Quan, a virtuous officer of the Han Dynasty. The content of the stele recorded Cao Quan's life, his achievements as well as his ancestry. The Cao Quan Stele
is considered as the prime example of Han clerical script and is known for its elegance and beauty. The identity of the calligrapher, however, remains unknown. The original stone is now stored in Xian's Forest of Stone Steles Museum (1
). A photo of the original stele can be seen here
About this work
Presented on the left is my calligraphy on the first seventy-seven words of the total nine hundred words in the original Cao Quan Stele. This part of the text documents Cao Quan's given name, place of birth of Duanhuang, and his illustrious ancestry.
Reading biographical steles always remind me of "what you do is more important than what you possess". History often records what you did but not what you had: a few can recall the richest man in the 18th century, but many can tell Beethoven was one of the greatest composers in that era. In Chinese, this type of philosophy can be summarized as "萬般帶不走，唯有業隨身 " ("myriads of possessions shall be left behind, only deeds shall accompany you to afterlife").