#STN-117 Antique Carved Stone Plaque with the Story of Calligrapher Wang-Xi-Zhi

(刻王羲之伴鵝趕路舊石板) This thick antique architectural stone plaque with deep relieved style in carving tells the story of the famous Easter Jin Dynasty (東晉 317-420) calligrapher Wang-Xi-Zhi (大書法家王羲之) and his pet goose. Of all the stories about him and his love for goose from which he obtained much of his inspiration for practicing calligraphy, there were two well-known versions below:
During the Jin Dynasty, Daoism(道家思想)was very popular. Many scholars and social elites favored the freer styles of life. Wang-Xi-Zhi had a high position in the court at the time when he resided in Shan-Yin (山陰), near the famous Daoist’s mountain Tian-Tai-Shan (天台山) in Zhejiang province, plus he was already very famous for his calligraphy writing. It was difficult for the ordinary people to obtain a copy of his calligraphy writing. One day, he encountered a group of well cultivated beautiful white goose and was quite taken by their beauty. But the goose belonged to a Daoist priest. Wang asked to buy them. The priest suggested that he traded the goose with Wang’s calligraphy writing for a Daoist’s manual “Huang-Ting-Jing, 黃庭經” (Some thought might be Dao-De-Jing). Wang happily wrote the 136 characters of the Manuel without hesitation and hurdled home the group of goose afterword.

The other story was that Wang-Xi-Zhi heard about a beautiful large white goose who could made beautiful sound. After visiting, he offered to buy the goose from the owner, an older lady. But she did not know whom Wang-Xi-Zhi was at the time and did not want to sell the goose to him. Later, Wang decided to visit her again with some other friends from the court. The old lady heard the officials were coming to visit this time, she decided to kill the goose and prepared a special meal for the guests coming. And of course, when Wang and his friends got there, the goose had sadly been gone. Great Tang Dynasty poet Li-Bo (李白) and Du-Fu (杜甫) liked Wang-Xi-Zhi’s work so much, they both wrote poems about him and his goose.

The above stories and more can be found on internet.
This stone plaque is carved in a simple style with Two figures, Wang-Xi-Zhi and his young attendant carrying a Gu-Qin instrument, with a goose walking in front of them. The look of the two figures naively striking in their big steps with the goose turning its head, looking back at them with a twisted neck created almost a surreal feel for the artwork. This piece is probably about two feet or longer in length.
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