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Cultural Celebrity-- Wang Xizhi

Wang Xizhi (321—379), he was born in a well-known family for most of his family members were good at calligraphy. His uncle, Wang Dao, and brother-in-law, Wang Tian were both the great masters of calligraphy. He was the greatest master of calligraphy in Chinese history. At the age of 7, he learned calligraphy from female calligrapher, Wei Shuo, until he was 12 years old. But he never satisfied with his calligraphy. He always inspirited himself with many late calligraphers’ stories and experiences. He adored Zhang Zhi. He was perfectly diligent for practicing calligraphy. One day, he visited the beautiful landscape of Shao Xin with his son by boat; he found a flock of gooses’ dackering and dillydallying on the bank, he liked them very much and prepared to buy all of them. However, these gooses were raised by a Taoist, and he knew he was Wang Xizhi, the well-known calligrapher. He said: “if you could write Huangtingjing for me, I will present all of these gooses to you “. Wang Xizhi was eager to get these gooses, so he agreeably complied with his demands and conditions. This is the famous story---- creating calligraphy works for those gooses.

When he was 20 years old, a high official selected a son-in-law for his daughter in Wang Xizhi’s big family. At that time, people pay more attention to family status. The selected should be matched for marriage. Wang Xizhi’s cousins were did their best to refine and perfect themselves. But he, lying in couch made of bamboo, looked like a deaf without hearing anything and ate the baked cakes as he practiced calligraphy on his own body. The messenger watched his reactions and activities and reported all he got to that official when he came back. What surprised us more were this official’s views on Wang Xizhi. After heard the information, he said excitedly and joyfully: “this is the one qualified to be my son-in-law, I have searched for a long time”. At last, Wang Xizhi succeeded in marrying that official’s daughter. This is the literary story with universal praise. His typical masterpiece was Lantingxu.

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