Xiao Yi Obtaining the Lanting Manuscript by Trickery

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Artist: Traditionally attributed to Qian Xuan 錢選 (late 13th century)
Calligrapher: Wen Zhengming 文徵明 (1470-1559)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 16th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 24.6 x 77.1 cm (9 11/16 x 30 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)

To 1910
Worch et Cie, Paris, to 1910 [1]

From 1910 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Worch et Cie, Paris, in 1910 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 652, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. This object exhibits seals, colophons, or inscriptions that could provide additional information regarding the object’s history; see Curatorial Remarks in the object record for further details.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Worch et Cie (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Wen Zhengming was a painter, calligrapher, and scholar of the Ming dynasty. As a calligrapher, Wen Zhengming excelled in all the major scripts but most often practiced semicursive script, following the style of the master calligrapher, Wang Xizhi. Wang Xizhi (ca. 303-361) composed and wrote the Preface of the Lanting Gathering while with a number of eminent scholars and poets who drank wine as they worked along a winding brook surrounded by bamboo groves and mountains. The Preface became the most practiced and influential single piece of work in the entire history of calligraphy. Wen Zhengming wrote this version of the Preface when he was 84 years old, exactly 1200 years after Wang Xizhi had written the original composition.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton. "画中人 上海书画出版社." Chinese Figure Painting. Shanghai, China. .
  • Nakata Yujiro, Fu Shen. O-bei shuzo Chugoku hosho meiseki shu [Masterpieces of Chinese Calligraphy in American and European Collections]. 6 vols., Tokyo, 1981-1983. vol. 5: pls. 61-63.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: pp. 220-221.
  • Jerome Silbergeld. Chinese Painting Style: Media, Methods, and Principles of Form. Seattle, WA. fig. 14.
  • Fu Shen, Glenn D. Lowry, Ann Yonemura, Thomas Lawton. From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 11, pp. 42-43.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Figure Painting. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 12, p. 77.
  • Fu Shen, Jan Stuart. Challenging the Past: The Paintings of Chang Dai-Chien. Exh. cat. Washington and Seattle. p. 164, fig. 87.
  • Charles Patrick Fitzgerald. The Horizon History of China. New York. pp. 294-295.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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