Buddhist art is Xia Jing Shan’s lifelong mission, and his calligraphic works are also predominantly on Buddhist scriptures, insights he has attained on Buddhist studies, or cautionary words for people, and his efforts have become an energy that guides society towards a path of positivity and benevolence. Having lived extensively in Taiwan, the United States, Japan, and China, the impact that Xia has formed through his oeuvre is wide and profound.
The focus of this paper is on Xia’s calligraphic works, and begins by examining the inscriptions on his paintings recorded in the book, Complete Collection of Buddhist Art by Xia Jing Shan（Xia Jing Shan zhongguo foxiang huaji）, which is followed by step-by-step organization of the various scripts used by Xia and also changes he has developed throughout the years. The focus then returns back to his calligraphic works to look into their notable features. From comparing and contrasting their various compositions, structures, and brushworks, it is observed that the technique, “trembling brush”, is employed by Xia. Lastly, the paper attempts to reference the inscription on the historical stone carving, Eulogy for Burying a Crane, to examine various interpretations of the “trembling brush” by different artists in history, including the wave-like features by Song dynasty artist Huang Ting-Jian; twisting wristwork demonstrated by Qing dynasty artist Ho Shao-Chi; and styles by other artists from the late Qing dynasty to the early Republican period, such as Tzeng Shi, Li Rui-Qing, and Chang Dai-Chien. The study is then applied to illustrate the origin and to contextualize the use of the “trembling brush” in Xia’s calligraphic oeuvre.