Determination Artist: Qi Gong (Chinese, 1912–2005)

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Asian Art

Qi Gong was a renowned Chinese calligrapher, painter, poet, and teacher of Chinese culture. Born into a royal Manchu family in Beijing, he was a descendant of the Yongzheng Emperor (1678–1735), but he declined to use his royal name, going by the surname “Qi” instead. He received a classical education from his tutor, Pu Ru, the brother of the last emperor, Pu Yi. By studying in the imperial Forbidden City, he developed the eye of a connoisseur. He also wrote classical poetry, for which he was extolled for having attained the “three perfections”: calligraphy, painting, and poetry. While others explored new styles, Qi did not abandon classical art and made it fresh and lively. His calligraphy is imbued with an effortless delicacy and elegance. Qi felt that the internal structure of each character is key. He invented a system of proportional relationships that resembles the Golden Ratio of eight-to-five, rather than the normal practice of positioning characters in an imaginary square divided into nine equal units. This made it possible to focus the core of the character in the middle and allow more room for vertical and diagonal strokes, creating interesting balance and tension within each character.


Ink on paper, calligraphy in running script


sheet: 54 1/2 × 19 3/4 in. (138.4 × 50.2 cm)

Credit Line

Lent by H. Christopher Luce, B.A. 1972

Loan number



20th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



H. Christopher Luce, New York (on loan to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2018–)
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Additional information


奇功 \r\n鍥而不舍金石可鏤\r\n“If one carves without ceasing, one can engrave metal and stone"

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