Wang Xizhi

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Wang Xizhi (303-361 or 321-379), calligrapher of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. Native of Linyi, Langya (now in Shandong), styled Yishao. Wang Dao's nephew. Xi Jian's son-in-law. First was assistant in the palace library, later promoted to general of the Right Army, administrator of Kuaiji. Often referred to as Wang the Right Army. Then plead illness to quit officialdom, and settled down at Shanyin, Kuaiji (now Shaoxing, Zhejiang). Believed in the Daoism of Zhang Tianshi. Proficient in calligraphy. At first learned from Madame Wei (Shuo), then switched to learn cursive script after Zhang Zhi, regular script after Zhong You, absorbing the strong points of all calligraphers to bring forth the new from the old and form a style of his own. His handwritings were like floating clouds and alerted dragon. When The History of the Jin Dynasty was compiled in the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Taizong personally wrote a comment on his calligraphy, saying "it is perfect." Later generations regarded him as “Sage of Calligraphy.” There are numerous copies of his works, block-printed in calligraphy models published since Song. His running-style scripts are mostly preserved in Sheng jiao xu (An Introduction to the Sacred Teaching of Monk Tripitaka of the Great Tang Dynasty) which was collected by Tang monk Huairen. His cursive handwritings are conserved in Shi qi tie (Seventeen Calligraphy Models), etc. His authentic works do not exist; there were only some copies outlined and ink-filled in the running and cursive scripts by Tang Dynasty calligraphers.