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Hanging scroll Asian Artists

Many great hanging scroll Asian artists lived as early as the 4th century. Many of them are calligraphers associated with Buddhism in China. Japanese rely on calligraphy on writing their language, but was heavily influenced by Chinese calligraphers. Truth be told, the most important calligrapher of Japan in the 4th century is a Chinese man named Wang Xizhi. He was the forerunner of calligraphy and now well regarded as the Sage of Calligraphy. Only few of his original works survived; his writings, which are composed of running and cursive scripts, are still valued and collected up to this time. Because of his popularity, many copies and reproductions of his works can be seen today.

The Preface to the Orchid Pavillion is Wang Xizhi’s most popular work. He made this a year before retiring in 353 AD. While he was serving as a governor in Guiji area, now called Zhejiang practice, he invited forty guests to celebrate the Purification Rites festival with him. He officiated a poetry contest where cups of wine were floated alongside a stream. The rule of the contest was to finish the poem before the cup arrived. Anyone who’s still not finished with their composition at that time will pay for the drink and penalty. This event gained a legendary significance in the era of painting and poetry. It was said that you could learn about the qualities of a man through his brush strokes.

Wang Xianzhi, his seventh son, also achieved high praises as a calligrapher, debatably surpassing even his father’s works. However, at the end of the Six Dynasties period, Wang Xizhi reclaimed the thrones as the most revered calligrapher ever lived.

Before the Six Dynasties period ended, calligraphy was regarded as one of the highest art form associated with noble intellectuals. Just like the Wang family, many aristocratic families went to the south to escape political turbulence in the north. And many of these highly educated men expressed their social opinions through writing. The political issues that divided the north from the south created a different breed of calligraphy style. Almost all calligraphy examples today can be seen on tablets and steles as memorial inscriptions.

Calligraphy artists also used the rock faces of sacred mountains to express their art, just like the Buddhist engravings of Confucian Classics in Mount Tai. The famous father and son Wangs became the basis of many educated calligraphers during the Six Dynasties period.


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