Shufa yayan 書法雅言 is a book of "elegant words on the standards of calligraphy" written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Xiang Mu 項穆 (c. 1550-c. 1600), courtesy name Dechun 德純, style Zhenyuan 貞元 or Wuchengzi 無稱子, from Xiushui 秀水 (today part of Jiaxing 嘉興, Zhejiang). He was a son of the famous art collector Xiang Yuanbian 項元汴 (1525-1590), author of the book Molin yinji 墨林印記. Xiang Mu's book was published in 1599.
The short book consists of 17 chapters dealing with various aspects of the art of calligraphy. The arrangement is similar to Sun Guoting's 孫過庭 (646-691) Shupu 書譜. The author interprets calligraphy from a Neo-Confucian viewpoint as a "unison between Heaven and Earth" (tongliu tiandi 同流天地) and calls it a "guard" for teaching and transmitting the Classics (yiwei jiao jing 翼衛教經). Calligraphy was also an expression of the artist's personal mind and his moral qualities because dishonest or upright natures found their shape in the artwork (xie zheng zi xing 邪正自形). A calligrapher had therefore to nourish honesty in his heart and to focus his mind on the expression of his spirit.
The most excellent combination of the Confucian spirit with the art of calligraphy was found in the works of Wang Xizhi 王羲之 (303-361), while later generations, even Su Shi 蘇軾, Mi Fu 米芾 (1051-1107) or Ni Zan 倪瓚 (1301-1374), failed to grasp the essence of this spirit. While Xiang's basic thoughts on calligraphy resemble those expressed in Yang Shen's 楊慎 Mochi suolu 墨池瑣錄, Xiang is much more radical.
The book is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Yihai zhuchen 藝海珠塵, Meishu conshu 美術叢書 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.
Beijing Dongfang Shoucangjia Xiehui 北京東方收藏家協會, ed. (1996). Zhonghua shoucang da cidian 中華收藏大辭典 (Beijing: Beijing Yanshan chubanshe), 30.
Chen Dan 陳丹 (2022). "Xiang Mu Shufa yayan de xinxue secai 項穆《書法雅言》的心學色彩", Shufa 書法, 2022 (6): 188-190.
Gu Yalong 顧亞隆, Yang Zhanghandan 杨璋菡萏 (2020). "Shufa yayan yishu sixiang de guankui 《書法雅言》藝術思想之管窺", Shufa 書法, 2020 (10): 191-193.
Hou Zhanhu 侯占虎 (1996). "Shufa yayan 書法雅言", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Yishu 藝術卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 522.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1809.
Qiu Zhenzhong 邱振中 (1992). "Shufa yayan 書法雅言", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Meishu 美術 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 734.
Wang Jianzhu 王堅助 (2021). "Shufa yayan guji banben xinjian yu jiaokan: Jian ji qi banke shuji yu yinzhang jiazhi tantao 《書法雅言》古籍版本新見與校勘——兼及其版刻書迹與印章價值探討", Daxue shufa 大學書法, 2021 (3): 130-137.
Wu Jiayin 吳嘉茵 (2019). "Cong Shufa yayan kann Xiang Mu de shuxue sixiang 從《書法雅言》看項穆的書學思想", Zhongguo shufa 中國書法, 2019 (18): 166-169.
Yang Liang 楊亮 (2008). "Shufa yayan banben kaoshu 《書法雅言》版本考述", Shandong Tushuguan jikan 山東圖書館季刊, 2008 (2): 108-110.
Zhang Ming 張明 (2017). "Xiang Mu Shufa yayan zhong de yishu bianzhengfa 項穆《書法雅言》中的藝術辯證法", Zhongguo shufa 中國書法, 2017 (12): 149-153.