In this lot Dong Qichang inscribed Xiangzhou Zhoujintang Ji (Essay on Zhoujintang Garden in Xiangzhou), a renowned piece of writing by Ouyang Xiu, a brilliant man of letters in the Northern Song dynasty. Zhoujintang, a magnificent and elegant garden situated in the old section of the city of Anyang in Henan province, was built by Han Qi, who was born in Anyang and was appointed Prime Minister in three emperors' reigns in the Northern Song dynasty. In 1054 he, as Minister of Anyang, ordered the construction of Zhoujintang, which was regarded as one of the four most beautiful gardens in the country. Ouyang Xiu wrote the essay in praise of Han's unwillingness to flaunt his power and wealth, as well as his wish of leaving a good reputation to prosperity. The writer also lambasts those mundane people who care about nothing but wealth and fame.
Dong Qichang, a calligrapher in Ming dynasty, shared with Ouyang Xiu the idea that a writer or artist can create brilliant works only after experiencing great tribulations. Dong injected rich emotions into this piece of calligraphy, using both the brush and ink with grace and subtlety. This natural and elegant work can be treated as a mental collaboration between two masters separated in reality by centuries.