The Iron Brush of Ju Kungao, Two Juan


Ju Lühou (1723−86), style name Kungao, a native of Fengxian, Shanghai, was a seal artist. Seal carving was one of the four essential skills required of a scholar. Ju was also the author of a number of works, among which are Kungao tie bi (Iron brush by Kungao), in two juan, Kungao tie bi yu ji (Remaining works of Kungao), in five juan, and Yin wen kao lue (A brief study on inscriptions on seals), in one juan. This work is a manual about seals collected by Ju. On these seals are carved inscriptions of wise words and aphorisms by ancient authors. The preface and postscript were handwritten in the kai (standard) style. The work represents refinement and elegance and is pleasing to the eyes. Seals usually were made of stone, but sometimes also of metal or wood. Making them required a sophisticated command of both calligraphy and carving. This work is considered a masterpiece of seal art from the middle of the Qing dynasty.

Last updated: November 25, 2014