Made by the empire: Wang Xizhi's Xingrangtie and its paradoxes

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The essay explores the history of one of the most celebrated pieces of Chinese calligraphy, an early Tang tracing copy of Ritual to Pray for Good Harvest (Xingrangtie) by Wang Xizhi (303-ca. 361). The Tang paper slip with its fifteen characters is merely 8.9 cm wide but embedded into a scroll of 372 cm, with seals and colophons from three Chinese emperors and an illustrious line of connoisseurs. The essay explores the numerous paradoxes in the reception of both the scroll and the Wang Xizhi persona, with the scroll exemplifying the constructed nature of Wang's persona in its dialectic relationship to Chinese imperial culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-137
Number of pages21
JournalArchives of Asian Art
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


  • Authenticity
  • Chinese calligraphy
  • Colophons
  • Copy
  • Dong Qichang
  • Imperial culture
  • Letters
  • Qianlong emperor
  • Ritual to pray for good harvest
  • Seals
  • Song Huizong
  • Wang Xizhi (303-ca. 361)
  • Xingrangtie


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