Inscribing Chinese Gardens: The Origins of Shutiaoshi 书条石 (Calligraphy Stone Slabs)

Dr. Lei Xue, Oregon State University, will discuss shutiaoshi, stone slabs with engraved calligraphy that are commonly found in Chinese gardens.

These stones were once made to produce compendia of ink rubbings, known as fatie, which served as copybooks for calligraphers. While the trend of installing these stones on walls in gardens may have had earlier precedents, it was largely reinvented during a politically charged interaction between the Manchu emperor Qianlong (r. 1735–96) and cultural elites in the southern region of Jiangnan. The display of shutiaoshi in gardens also presaged a modern form of spectatorship that differs from the traditional way of viewing calligraphy.

This is part of the East Asian Garden Lecture Series.