The basic style of "Lanting Preface"

  There have always been definite comments on the basic style of Wang Xizhi's calligraphy. Although the reliability of dramas like "Lanting Preface" is still questionable, no one can deny the contribution of Dawang's calligraphy style to the past and the future. The dispute over the authenticity of "Lanting Preface" does not affect it as an excellent learning model. Using it as a method for learning running script can yield quick and convenient results.

  Compared with other calligraphy works of the Han and Western Jin Dynasties, the most obvious feature of the calligraphy style of "Lanting Preface" is its delicate brushwork and changeable structure. The ink written by the king before, such as Lu Ji's "Ping Fu Tie" and Wu Huangxiang's "Ji Jiu Zhang" are clumsy. Cute, peaceful and pleasant, quite reserved, but not elegant. There are many extant Han bamboo slips with wild strokes and rich changes, but their structures are relatively scattered and lack interest. Wang Xizhi's contribution is that he guided the natural calligraphy style to a more concise but focused on the gorgeous features of technique, thereby establishing the tone of the era in which calligraphy art emphasizes the active grasp of aesthetics. Before him, people didn't pay enough attention to this.

  Emphasizing active pursuit, emphasizing the individuality of style, and emphasizing the richness of techniques, "Lanting Preface" and "Fengju Tie" are the basis of the "Lanting Preface" and "Fengju Tie". "Deshi Tie" and "Sangluan Tie" embody the same aesthetic style of Wei and Jin Dynasties. For comrades who learn running script, it is very important to strive to pay attention to the pursuit and experience in this aspect. We might even say that the master of running calligraphy, the sign of success is whether the learner can express the most delicate pen movements and line effects in the copybook thoroughly and meticulously. Rough copying will definitely not get the true meaning, but detailed observation and reflection are the first steps to master the king's calligraphy style. There is no other, because "Lanting Preface" itself is a high-level development of previous calligraphy works - I call it the aesthetic development from coarse to fine, from sparse to dense, from rough to precise, from simple to gorgeous. In the calligraphy of the Tang Dynasty, the Dawang style was given a purely complimentary word: "qiaomei". The success of "Lanting Preface" and others lies precisely in its ability to control the pen and paper: the skill that can be used freely and superbly in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. In the past, it had been admired by people for a long time, and at that time it was also amazed by calligraphers of the same generation. It marked the maturity of calligraphy from the stage of Pilu and Blue Lines to art. And it is this kind of maturity that we want to learn, because we hope to enter the realm of calligraphy (running script) skills.

 The "ingenious beauty" and its delicate characteristics of "Lanting Preface" are more obvious when compared with the reprinted "Holy Teaching Preface". Compared with a soft brush and a hard knife stone, the latter tends to be more standardized, and this is a big damage to the delicateness. Therefore, it seems that those who study "Lanting" should pay more attention to and understand this specific phenomenon and grasp the normal learning methods. The reason for studying "Lanting" is that it is called "the best running script in the world". This is naturally meaningless and empty talk. There is no "best in the world" in art. However, the purpose of studying "Lanting" is to master its exquisite brushwork and to master as many technical vocabulary as possible. This is the view of learning that every scholar should establish.