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13th/14th Century
The purplish-brown stone carved on all four sides with scenes of the literary gathering at the Lanting (Orchid) Pavilion, with various scholars composing and writing poetry amidst a landscape setting, the top finely carved with the figure of Wang Xizhi writing poetry at a desk within a pavilion flanked by a willow and a pine tree, overlooking a stream forming the well, carved as a rocky circular hollow with a pair of geese at the banks, the two longer sides carved with poems about the Lanting Pavilion gathering and the hollow base carved with the Lanting Preface (Lanting Ji Xu) in cursive script

Lot Essay

The legendary gathering at the Lanting Pavilion occured in the Eastern Jin dynasty (353), Shanyin, Zhejiang province. On the occasion of the Spring Purification Festival, forty-two scholars gathered for a game of poem composition and drinking. Wang Xizhi (circa 307 - 365), one of the foremost Chinese calligraphers, wrote a short passage on the event, known as the Lanting Preface, which has served as a model for calligraphy ever since. A translation of the Preface was included by Gerald Tsang and Hugh Moss in the Catalogue of the exhibition, Arts from the Scholar's Studio, October 24 - December 13, 1986, pp. 66-69, no. 28

Compare a circular duan inkstone with a scene of the literary gathering at the Lanting Pavilion, dated to the Song Dynasty, included in the Exhibition of Noted Inkstones, Japan, 1987, Catalogue, no. 24

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