Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wang Xun and His Letter to Boyuan 王询传世书法《伯远帖》


Some of the most famous calligraphers in all of Chinese history lived during the Wei Jin period when man of letters advocated the ‘magnanimity’, ‘taste’ in life and ‘neutrality’, ‘elegantly simple beauty’ in art.
Wang Xizhi (303-361) and his son Xianzhi (344-386), who had made the greatest achievement, were the two representatives among the most influential calligraphers in this period.
Another Wang who left his mark in the calligraphy history was Wang Xun (349-400). He was one of three master calligraphers praised by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty as the sanxi, or three rarities. The other two were Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi.
Wang Xun was the grandson of Wang Dao, a prime minister of a Jin dynasty and son of Wang Qia, a famous painter. His was also nephew of Wang Xizhi. He was conferred the Marquis of Dongting, and held a number of high posts in government, such as Kingdom Defence General, Deputy Chief of Wu, Deputy Chief State Secretary and Chief State Secretary.
Wang Xun excelled at running-cursive script. In the Southern Song imperial catalogue The Calligraphy Catalogue of the Xuanhe Period (1119-1125) (Xuanhe Shupu), he was honoured as ‘the great master of cursive script’.
His masterpiece Letter to Boyuan, written in an easy and free style, is the only authentic signed calligraphic work from the Jin dynasty. When the famous calligrapher Dong Qichang of Ming Dynasty saw the work in Chang-an (currently Xi’an), he went wild with joy and wrote, ‘Wang’s calligraphy shows freedom of expression, it is simple but quietly elegant. This masterpiece I see here in Chang’an is really a rare beauty.’ ‘It is like seeing the free-spirited Jin people in front of my eyes.
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中国书法史里,魏晋时代出了不少名书法家。当时士人所提倡的是宽雅、乐趣的人生,追求的是中性与淡雅之美的艺术。
王羲之(303-361)与其子献之(344-386)的成就最大,是这个时期最有影响力书法家中的两个代表人物。
王询(349-400)是王家中另一个在书法史上留下痕迹的人物。他是清朝乾隆皇帝赞为三稀的书法家之一。其他两名是王羲之与王献之。
王询时晋朝宰相王导之孙,画家王洽的儿子。他也是王羲之的侄儿。他受封东亭侯,累官辅国将军、吴国内史 、尚书仆射、尚书令等。
王询善草书。宋宣和时期(1119-1125)的《宣和书谱》称他‘草圣’。
他的《伯远帖》尽得悠游俊郎之风神,是晋朝传世书法作品中仅有的真品。明代董其昌于长安(今西安) 见到此帖后,欣喜若狂,题跋说:‘珣书潇洒古淡,长安所逢墨迹,此为尤物。’ ‘东晋风流,宛然在眼。’

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