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Free copy of Xu Jiaozhi’s calligraphy

Wang Duo Chinese

Not on view

明 王鐸 臨徐嶠之帖 軸 絹本

Wang Duo was a great student of calligraphy, but he did not honor the past by slavishly imitating it. The text comes from a Tang dynasty (618—907) piece of calligraphy but the writing style is pure late Ming, when the rough and bold were appreciated as much—or more than—the smooth and elegant. The middle line of the scroll demonstrates Wang's love of strong contrasts and audacious visual effects: it begins with heavy lines of dark, wet ink, thins to dry gossamer lines by the middle, then returns to heavy lines at the end. Wang even let the ink pool and seep into the satin in places, which created unpredictable patterns. This work demonstrates the enduring social function of calligraphy in Chinese society: the eighth century piece that Wang Duo copied was a letter sent between friends, and this large hanging scroll was given as a gift, possibly to solidify an important relationship.

Free copy of Xu Jiaozhi’s calligraphy, Wang Duo (Chinese, 1592–1652), Hanging scroll; ink on satin, China

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with mounting, rollers, and knobs