Rare Tang Dynasty copy of work by 4th century Chinese calligraphy master Wang Xizhi found in Japan

The work is believed to have been brought over to Japan by the diplomatic delegations sent to China during the Nara period.

Wang Xizhi, pictured below, (303–361) was a Chinese calligrapher considered to be the Sage of Calligraphy who lived during the Jin Dynasty (265–420).

Wang Xizhi


He is one of China’s 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. To find out more about Wang Xizhi’s works visit the Chinaonlinemuseum gallery.

Read more about the Japanese discovery in the Japan Times’ article:

Japan finds rare copy of Tang Dynasty Wang Xizhi’s work (Japan Times, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013)

AFP-Jiji    An extremely rare copy of a work by fourth century Chinese calligraphy legend Wang Xizhi has been found in Japan, the first such discovery in four decades, Tokyo National Museum said Tuesday.

No original works survive, despite their having been treasured by Chinese emperors throughout history for their contribution to the development of the delicate art form.

However, Wang’s innovative style was so influential that Chinese courts created precise replicas of his writings more than a millennium ago, some of which are held by Japan as national treasures.

“This is a significant discovery for the study of Wang Xizhi’s work,” the museum, which will display it from Jan. 22 to March 3, said in a statement.

The writing, owned by an individual in Japan whose identity was not disclosed, shows 24 Chinese characters in three lines on a piece of paper roughly 26 by 10 cm.

It was long thought to be the work of an ancient Japanese nobleman calligrapher, but a recent review by Jun Tomita, a Chinese calligraphy expert at the museum, has determined it was an expertly made copy of Wang’s writing.

The page appears to be part of a letter and includes phrases known to be used by the master calligrapher.

“I am tired everyday. I am living only for you,” part of the script says. It also includes the names of his relatives, including his son, the museum said.

The content of the writing, its style, copying technique, and other factors indicate the copy was made during the Tang Dynasty in the seventh to eighth century by the emperor’s court, the museum said.

It was likely brought out of China by Japanese commercial or diplomatic missions visiting their powerful continental neighbor during the era, the museum said.


A tracing copy of the original calligraphy “Mei Zhi Tie,” right, by Chinese calligrapher Wang Xizhi, was displayed at the Christie’s preview in Hong Kong Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

One response to “Rare Tang Dynasty copy of work by 4th century Chinese calligraphy master Wang Xizhi found in Japan

  1. Pingback: Tang Dynasty Copy of Calligraphy by Wang Xizhi found in Japan « 茶有の者 – A Man with Tea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s