Wang Xizhi

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Wang Xizhi (, 303–361) was a Chinese calligrapher, traditionally referred to as the Sage of Calligraphy (書聖), who lived during the Jin Dynasty . He is considered by many to be one of the most esteemed Chinese calligraphers of all time, especially during and after the Tang Dynasty, and a master of all forms of Chinese calligraphy, especially the running script.

The Emperor Taizong admired his works so much that the original Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion was said to be buried with the emperor in his mausoleum.

In addition to the esteem in which he is held in China, he has been and remains influential in Japanese calligraphy.

Biography

Born in Linyi, Shandong, Wang spent most of his life in present-day Shaoxing, Zhejiang. He learned the art of calligraphy from Lady Wei Shuo. He excelled in every script but particularly in semi-cursive script. Unfortunately, none of his original works remains today.His most famous work is the Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion, the introduction to a collection of poems written by a number of poets during a gathering at Lanting near the town of Shaoxing for the Spring Purification Festival. The original is lost, but there are a number of finely traced copies and rubbings in existence.

Wang Xizhi is particularly remembered for one of his hobbies, that of rearing geese. Legend has it that he learned that the key to how to turn his wrist whilst writing was to observe how geese moved their necks. There...
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