Reverend Song Nian (1911-1997), commoner name Song Tiecheng, was born in
Jiangsu, China. He was born in a conducive environment, whereby he was
influenced by his father to practice calligraphy since the tender age of six. At
the age of sixteen, he practiced Buddhism and medicine, and became a monk. He
had learnt from the famous Jiangnan scholar Xiao Tiu'an. As he had practice
Chinese arts from various teachers, he had put together the best of all he had
learnt and formed his original style.
In 1960s, he migrated to Singapore and became the head of Puti Temple. Besides teaching and researching Buddhism, and raise funds for charity, he stayed indoor to study Chinese poetry, write calligraphy, paint and carve seals. He was a renowned monk, teacher, calligrapher and painter of Singapore.
His calligraphy and Chinese ink paintings are named the national treasure of Singapore and are collected by the National Museum in Singapore and Taipei Palace Museum in Taiwan. Singapore's ex-Prime Minister (currently the Senior Minister) Mr Lee Kuan Yew had also presented Reverend Song Nian's works to Japan's Prime Minister as a national gift. China ex-leader Mr Deng Xiaoping and current Chairman Mr Jiang Zeming had both regarded the Reverend's works highly. Many of Singapore's ex-presidents, Prime Ministers and Ministers are also collectors of Reverend Song's paintings.