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Diamond Sutra (金剛般若波羅蜜經)

Wen Zhengming (文徵明, 1470–1559), Ming Dynasty (1368–1644)

Hanging scroll, gold on paper, 116 x 31 cm, Liaoning Provincial Museum, Shenyang

       Gifted at many scripts, Wen Zhengming was best at small regular and running scripts. In the former he followed the fourth-century style of the Two Wangs, i.e. Wang Xizhi (王羲之) and Wang Xianzhi (王獻之), while in running script he learned from such calligraphers as Zhiyong (智永), Su Shi (蘇軾), Huang Tingjian (黃庭堅), and Mi Fu (米芾)

       Wen Zhengming’s self-inscription reads, “On the April full moon day of the fourth month in the year of Bingchen in the reign of Emperor Jiajing, I respectfully swept my quiet room and felt the blessings of the spirits. Using Korean paper and grinding gold ink, I wrote the precious sutra in regular script as if speaking to the Buddha. After ten days of diligent effort, my work was accomplished without any errors in strokes or dots, fulfilling my long-held wish. Furthermore, my friend Qiu Ying created a large painting of the True Realm of Great Mercy to commemorate our shared devotion to Buddhism. Written by Wen Zhengming from Changzhou. I am eighty-seven years old.”

Wen Zhengming: Diamond Sutra