The veneration of Wang Xizhi has shaped the aesthetic spirit, belief system and academic traditions of Chinese calligraphy since the Tang dynasty. It has also significantly transformed the imagination and understanding of calligraphy in the pre-Tang era. The imperative to integrate politics, culture, and education during the early Tang dynasty, along with the Southern influence on Confucianism, literature, and the arts, served as the historical backdrop for Emperor Taizong's proposal to honor Wang Xizhi. Emperor Taizong's composition, “On Wang Xizhi,” crafted with both running and cursive inscriptions, established Wang Xizhi as an exemplar embodying a harmonious fusion of aesthetics and morality. This was not only reflective of the emperor's own aesthetic preferences but also instrumental in driving calligraphy reform through the influence of Wang Xizhi's calligraphy. Since the Tang dynasty, the emulation and replication of the calligraphic masterpieces of Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi, along with the gradual development of Wang Xizhi's image in the history of calligraphy and intellectual history, coupled with the influence of the Neo-Confucianism orthodoxy during the Song and Ming dynasties, the system of transmission and reception centered around Wang Xizhi has continuously expanded. This has further solidified Wang Xizhi's esteemed position as a master in the history of calligraphy and finally established a Confucian calligraphic orthodoxy dominated by the cultural elites and based on the veneration of saints and classics.
calligraphy, Wang Xizhi, veneration of Wang Xizhi, Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty, orthodoxy
Zhang, Xingcheng. 2024. "The Veneration of Wang Xizhi and the Formation of Confucian Calligraphic Orthodoxy." Theoretical Studies in Literature and Art 43, (6): pp.151-162. https://tsla.researchcommons.org/journal/vol43/iss6/17