Brief account of Wang Xizhi

Calligraphy Sage Wang Xizhi.

Residence of Wang Xizhi in Linyi City, east China's Shandong Province.

Wang Xizhi (303-361), a well-known calligrapher of Eastern Jin Dynasty whose style (the taken name by which a man is sometimes called in ancient China) was Yishao, was born in Langya (namely Linyi in Shandong Province now) and moved to Shanyin (namely Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province now) later. During his lifetime, Wang successively held the posts of Supervisor of Palace Library, Ningyuan General, Magistrate of Jiangzhou, Governor of Kuaiji and Right General. In every case, high birth, good education and rich experiences contributed a lot to Wang’s success in calligraphy.

Wang’s handwritings have combined the different styles of Li Calligraphy (official script), Cao Calligraphy (cursive script), Kai Calligraphy (formal script) and Xing Calligraphy (running script) into his own and have a far-reaching influence on the development of Chinese calligraphy. Therefore, he has been reputed as the Calligraphy Sage. With his rich diversity of calligraphy styles, Wang’s masterpieces have been legendary since they were created, among which the best known are running script Lan Ting Xu (Preface of the Orchid Pavilion), formal script Huang Ting Jing and Le Yi Lun, and cursive script Shi Qi Tie. Particularly, Lan Ting Xu, or Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Poems,the representative work of Wang XiZhi, has been reputed to be the Greatest Running Hand in the world.

Besides, his son Wang Xianzhi was an excellent inheritor of calligraphy. For their outstanding contributions in Chinese calligraphy history, Wang Xizhi and his son Wang Xianzhi were hailed as Two Wang.

Wang Xizhi’s calligraphy had a profound influence on the development of calligraphy in history. Calligraphers in all ages had been completely convinced by his perfectly superb skills, including Ouyang Xun and Yan Zhenqing of Tang Dynasty, Su Shi, Huang Tingjian and Mi Fu of Song Dynasty, Zhao Mengfu of Yuan Dynasty, and Dong Qichang of Ming Dynasty.

In 2003, to mark the 1700th anniversary of birth of Calligraphy Sage Wang Xizhi, First China Linyi Calligraphy Sage Cultural Festival was successfully held by Linyi Municipal Party Committee and Linyi Municipal Government, hence the cultural festival has been held in every September in Linyi. With its expanding influence on carrying forward the culture of calligraphy, China Linyi Calligraphy Sage Cultural Festival, the annual distinguished gathering, has been working to develop high-end cultural brands and flourishing cultural industries both benefit the economic growth and people’s lives. Accordingly, the cultural brand named Hometown of Calligraphy Sage - A Charming Linyi was set up by Linyi to win its fame both at home and abroad.