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Inscription for Wang Shen’s Poetry

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Period: 1086, Yuanyou reign (1086–1094), Northern Song dynasty (960–1127)
Medium: ink on paper
Format: album leaf

Calligrapher(s): Su Shi (1037–1101)

Dimensions: 30.2 cm × 25.7 cm

This work of exemplary running-regular script (xingkai) calligraphy is an inscription by Su Shi (1037–1101) for a poem written by Wang Shen (ca. 1048–after 1104). At the time of writing, Su Shi was fifty-one years old (in sui). The content is concerned with how Wang Shen, although implicated in the “Crow Terrace Poetry Case” (Wutai shian) and banished to Wudang, maintained his composure and inebriated himself with poetry. The calligraphy is written with vigor in a simple brush technique. The characters are amply constructed and have a splendid aesthetic. Written for an intimate friend, the work is full of emotion.

From Taiyuan in Shanxi Province, Wang Shen was also known by his courtesy name (zi) Jinqing. He was summoned by Song emperor Yingzong (r. 1064–1067) to serve as a commandant-escort. Maintaining a good relationship, he and Su Shi often engaged in reciprocal poetry composition.

Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu

 

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