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Record of the Pavilion of the Drunken Old Man (醉翁亭記)

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

Hanging scroll, ink on paper, 53.5 x 28.6 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei

       Wen Zhengming was an artist of significant influence in the mid-Ming dynasty Suzhou painting circle. He dedicated much effort to the connoisseurship and practice of ancient calligraphy, from which he gained new creative inspiration. This work is refined and elegant, akin to the description of Wang Xizhi’s calligraphy as “iron hooks and silver lines” by the public. It is Wen Zhengming’s small regular script written at the age of 82 in 1551, with a lengthy inscription discussing his calligraphy experience at the time and the origin of Ouyang Xiu’s “Record of the Pavilion of the Drunken Old Man” essay. Just like Ouyang Xiu being inspired by Han Yu’s articles, Wen Zhengming aimed to seek the same quality as that of Wang Xizhi’s calligraphy with the icy-clear and jade-like texture.