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Chinese calligraphy master Wang Xizhi

Born in Lin Qin (Lin Qin county in Shan Dong provice) and lived in Hui Ji (Shao Xing of Zhe Jiang province), Wang Xizhi (321-379) was the most famous calligrapher in history. Almost all calligraphers after him more or less learned his calligraphy. He study calligraphy with his uncle Wang Guang and Mrs. Wei earlier. Later he saw calligraphy work of calligraphers of Qin and Han dynasties, including Zhong You, Liang Hu, Cai Yong, Zhang Chang, Li Si and Cao Xi and so on. Then he created a new style. His calligraphy is vigorous, elegant, changing of thousands of ways, reaches the top of the calligraphy art.

He is called the calligraphy god since Tang dynasty.

March 3rd in the ninth year (year 353) of Yong He (an emperor of Jin dynasty), he and Xie an etc. about 40 people met at Shan Yin (Shao Xing) Lan Ting. This was a poem meeting (this is pretty like some academic conference today). All people would write a peom there and they would make a collection of poems. Wang Xizhi wrote the preface for the poems collection. It's named Lan Ting Xu. Lan Ting Xu is high valued by all calligraphers later. Tang Tai Zong (an emperor of Tang dynasty) love it very much. He ordered calligraphers copied it and give to his officers. As his will, the original Lan Ting Xu was buried with him. Since then, the only copies exists is the copies of Tang dynasty. Right now, even the good Tang dynasty copies are unavailable. 

In 648, Tang Tai Zong wrote an article about Xuan Zang's west journey. He want to carve the article onto stone. He loved Wang Xizhi's calligraphy. However, Wang Xizhi had died hundreds years ago at that time. So he ordered Huai Ren to collect characters from existing Wang Xizhi's calligraphy works. At that time, there's still no computer. It's a huge project to collect all characters and put them together since they are not in same size. It took Huai Ren 25 years to finish this project. It's called Sheng Jiao Xu. Because Huai Ren is a good calligrapher himself, the collected art work is just like Wang Xizhi's originals. 

Wang Xizhi is good at Cao Shu, Xing Shu and Kai Shu. He had many calligraphy works.  But within about 1700 years, all of his original works was destroyed in wars. Some hand copies of his calligraphy works include Lan Tin Xu, Sheng Jiao Xu, Shi Qi Tie, Sang Luan Tie. It's said that he was also good at every scripts. But we can not see his calligraphy of other scripts any more.

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Last modified: 05/09/09