Ding Jing

Ding Jing (1695-1765) 丁敬 was born in Qiantang. He failed in an official career, was poor for most of his life, and made a living by selling wine. He was good at poetry and calligraphy. Wang Qishu wrote in his “Sequel to Biography of Seal Makers” that Ding Jing’s seals were in the style of ancient Qin and Han styles, but also established his own unique style different from that of He Zhen and Su Xuan. He formed his own style in script, composition, and carving technique. His style of seal engraving was so unique that he was said to be the forerunner of the Zhe school. Learning the carving skills of Wei Zhi and Zhu Jian, he formed his own carving technique to realize the “Broken Line” effects, which later became a special feature of the Zhejiang style. The side notes on seals by Ding Jing were very simple, only carved in single lines without any decoration. Ding Jing’s apprentices, Jiang Ren, Huang Yi, and Xi Gang also became famous during the reign of the Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. Their styles were close to that of Ding Jing but different from that of each other.

He was noted for his ability in putting knife to stone without first making a draft outline.

“In seals, books, calligraphy, painting, seal-engraving, we should aim at antique elegance, rich splendour, good balance and proportion. Many artists today while achieving exquisite craftsmanship fall into the pettiness of actors and actresses. How can that do?”

Ding was considered one of the “first four scholars” of the Xiling School and one of the “eight masters of Xiling.”

  • Pinyin: Dīng Jìng
  • Wade-Giles: Ting Ching
  • Also known as: Chun Ding; Jing Sheng; Man of Mount Longhong; Recluse Ding; Yan Lin
  • Affiliation: Xiling/Zhejiang School

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