Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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東晉 王羲之 十七日帖 十三世紀拓本
On the Seventeenth Day

Calligrapher:
Wang Xizhi (Chinese, 303–361)
Date:
13th century rubbing of a 4th century text
Culture:
China
Medium:
Album of thirty leaves; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Each leaf: 9 5/8 x 5 in. (24.4 x 12.7 cm)
Classification:
Rubbing
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H. C. Weng, 1991
Accession Number:
1991.380
Not on view
Most personal correspondence was written in an informal form of clerical script known as cursive clerical (caoli) or draft cursive (zhangcao). In this script type, which originated as an abbreviated form of writing used in drafting manuscripts, individual characters are simplified, with some brushstrokes omitted and others linked in fluid, continuous lines. By the fourth century, such informal writings by known authors, originally viewed as a heterodox debasement of the orthodox clerical manner, became cherished for their expressive individuality.

Original manuscripts by the "calligraphy sage" Wang Xizhi and other early masters were already rare in the early Tang dynasty (618-907), when a major effort to collect and authenticate Wang's writings was sponsored by the imperial court. To preserve and propagate these precious writing models, precise tracings were made, as were stone or wood-carved reproductions. Rubbings taken from the carved reproductions provided the principal means for students to acquire and study classical models.

On the Seventeenth Day is a selection of twenty-nine letters written by Wang Xizhi collected under the sponsorship of the Tang emperor Taizong (r. 627-49), a devoted student of Wang's writing style and the compiler of a comprehensive collection of Wang's surviving works. The title derives from the initial characters of the first letter. Extant rubbings of the manuscript date to the Song dynasty (960-1279) or later and vary tremendously in quality. The Song rubbings, of which several versions are known, were based in turn on Tang tracings or rubbings. The dominant type, such as this example, ends with the large imperial cipher qi ("imperial order") followed by a brief inscription stating that the emperor ordered the copy carved on stone as the official version of the Hongwen Academy.
Inscription: 東晉 王羲之 草書十七日帖 舊拓本
Label Strip

Qin Huitian 秦蕙田 (1702–1764), 1 column in standard script, undated; 1 seal:

宋榻 《十七帖》。味經題籤。 [印]: 味經真賞

Colophons

1. Weng Fanggang 翁方綱 (1733–1818), 3 columns in standard script, dated 1813; 1 seal:

此闕十六行之本,與 《餘清》、《鬰岡》 二刻詳校悉同。嘉慶癸酉秋八月廿日,方綱 [印]:覃谿

2. Weng Tonghe 翁同龢 (1830–1904), 10 columns in standard script, dated 1900; 1 seal:

黃長睿跋 《十七帖》 云:今世所傳先唐石刻有二,一敕字本,有褚遂良、解如意校定者,一即此本也。洛陽李邯鄲所蓄舊本与此相近。其餘別本,則南唐後主得賀知章臨寫本,刻置澄心堂,勢殊疎拙。又有一板本,亦南唐刻,則乖舛失次矣云云。此敕字本,卷末作“解無畏”,非解如意,又有悅生印,其非唐石可知。特紙墨精古,筆意肥澤,又經諸老輩鑑賞,故足珍也。光緒庚子七月朔翁同龢記。 [印]: 叔平

Collectors' seals

Zheng Yuanyou 鄭元祐 (1292–1364)
鄭元祐印

Du Mu 都穆 (1458–1525)
都穆

Xiang Yuanbian 項元汴 (1525–1590)
項元汴印
子孫永保
墨林生
神品 (twice)
退密

Qin Huitian 秦蕙田 (1702–1764)
味經真賞
秦蕙田味經氏
蕙田之印
錫山秦氏珍藏圖書
淮海秦生
味經主人

Tie Bao 鐡保 (1752–1824)
鐵卿鋻定 (twice)
鐵保私印

Weng Tonghe 翁同龢 (1830–1904)
虞山翁同龢印
均齋秘笈
常熟翁同龢藏本

Weng Wange 翁萬戈 (Wan-go Weng, born 1918)
翁萬戈藏 (three times)

Unidentified
仲子琢山珍玩之印 (twice)
松雪齋圖書印
錫山安氏收藏書畫印
(雙龍半圓印)
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