Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wang Xizhi’s Story 王羲之的故事
When he was 20 years old, the Emperor’s advisor Xi Jian (269-339) sent one of his associated to Wang’s father to state his wish to have one of his sons as a son-in-law. Wang’s father told the messenger to take a look at the young men in the house. The messenger later reported to Xi that the young Wangs are all suitable men. However, when he arrived there to see them, all became tense and uneasy. There was one exception. He just lay on his back with his belly uncovered, nonchalant as if he knew nothing of the purpose of his visit. On hearing this, Xi said, ‘That one will do fine.’ And that young man’s name was Wang Xizhi.
Wang Xizhi is particularly remembered for his love for geese. Legend has it that one day, he visited the beautiful landscape of Shao Xing with his son by boat. He found a flock of gooses on the bank, he liked them very much and prepared to buy all of them. These gooses were raised by a Daoist who knew Wang Xizhi was a well-known calligrapher. He said to Wang, ‘If you could write Huangtingjing for me, I will give all of these gooses to you.’ Wang Xizhi was eager to get these gooses, so he agreeably complied with his demand and conditions.
It is said that Wang learnt the key of turning his wrist in calligraphy writing by observing how the geese move their necks.