This article starts with a discussion of the role of tradition as it is related to creativity or originality in Western art theory and literary criticism before examining ideas of tradition and creativity in premodern Chinese calligraphy criticism. I elaborate that learning from the past has been regarded as the proper course to take in becoming a mature calligrapher, that in calligraphic practice, linmo (copying) and dutie (reading and contemplating the master's original work) are the two main approaches to past models. I propose that gu, as tradition, is an ever-changing and accumulative repertoire in Chinese calligraphy history. The last section studies the calligraphic theory of tong-bian (continuity-mutation), illustrating that Chinese calligraphic practice, or visual art practice at large, emphasizes the study of the past, an inheritance of tradition, but that creativity or originality is still a value embedded in Chinese aesthetics.


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pp. 89-100
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