Big Buddha calligraphy exhibition of 100 calligraphers opens

CNA, July 21, 2008

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Big Buddha calligraphy exhibition, featuring 100 calligraphers, and described as one of the finest of its kind to ever have been assembled, opened Sunday at Miao-tsin Temple in Yongkang, Tainan County in southern Taiwan.

The exhibition, which runs until Aug. 17, is being sponsored by Taiwan Chuan Chin Literature Research Studio and co-sponsored by the Chung-hua Buddhism Literature Foundation and Miao-tsin Temple.

At Sunday's opening ceremony, 10 calligraphers, including Wang Shi-chorng, the general affairs director of the Ministry of the Interior, demonstrated their craft for the show's visitors. Chen Chin-chien, founder of Taiwan Chuan Chin Literature Research Studio, said that while there are many Buddhists in the world, there has never been an exhibition of Big Buddha calligraphy to match this one.

He said the motivation for the exhibition, which he has been preparing for years, was his desire to spread Buddhism's teaching of compassion, bestow its blessings and promote awareness of Buddha-related cultural arts.

To compile the collection, Chen visited temples and shrines in mountains across the Taiwan Strait and invited well-known calligraphers from both Taiwan and China to submit scrolls.

Aside from collecting the works of past prestigious masters, Chen said he also gathered scrolls from people from all walks of life -- artists, university scholars, medical school professors, military experts and students -- with a variety of different styles, from seal characters and Han Dynasty characters to regular script, running-hand and cursive styles.

The exhibition features the works of calligraphers as old as 108-year-old Sun Jiang-zhun and as young as 12-year-old Zhang Shan-qi, with Buddhist masters Shi Guang Yuan and Shi Chan Dao also contributing.

The participation of such a broad range of calligraphers reflects the wide historical span of the exhibition's range and symbolizes the eternal nature of Buddhist art, Chen suggested.

The exhibition is being held at Miao-tsin Temple's Literature and Cultural Building, in Yongkang.