háng shū 行书
Running script is a calligraphic form between cursive script and regular script. A Chinese character written in the style of running script retains the basic structure of characters written in official script. Running script features smoothly-linked strokes, and the characters written in this style are easy to recognize. Generally, people believe that running script was created by Liu Desheng of the Eastern Han Dynasty and became popular in the Wei and Jin eras. This writing style reminds one of drifting clouds and flowing water. It has no fixed arrangement for the radicals of a character and can be executed with any writing tools. The same characters written in this style by different people are different in appearance. The best-known masterpieces in this style are Wang Xizhi’s (303-361, or 307-365, 321-379) “Preface to the Collection of Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion,” Yan Zhenqing’s (708-784) “Draft Elegy to Niece Ji Ming,” and Su Shi’s (1037-1101) “The Cold Food Observance.” They are distinctive in style and have great aesthetic value.