禮器碑 (Japanese: Reiki no Hi, lit. ritual dish stele) is a monument erected inside of the Mausoleum of Confucius. The author of the calligraphy work is unknown, though it is certain that the stele was erected during Late Han Dynasty (後漢, 25 - 220 C.E.), in 156 C.E.
The monument was to celebrate the repairs of the Mausoleum of Confucius, and re-carving (renovation) of the stone ritual dish in particular. The text in Chinese calligraphy (clerical script) is a tribute to the family members of Confucius, and lists several names and various exploits and achievements of those individuals.
The stone monument has two sides. Although both of them are carved in the mature clerical script, also known as 八分隷 (Japanese: happun rei), the style of writing is slightly different. The front side is more rigid in form, whereas the reverse side represents more relaxed Chinese calligraphy in clerical script. Both sides, however, characterise rather thin lines and light structure of the Chinese characters. If we compare this classic with similar monuments of Chinese calligraphy from the same period (such as 乙瑛碑 or 史晨碑 for instance), the delicate structure of Chinese characters in Reiki no Hi becomes even more evident.
禮器碑 is considered to be one of the most outstanding masterpieces written and carved in mature clerical, or even clerical script in general. It is a valid subject of studies by anyone who wishes to master Chinese calligraphy art.
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