Lacquer screen

This screen has decorations carved from layers of red, dark green and ochre lacquer. The side of the screen shown here depicts Wang Xizhi at his writing desk in the Orchid Pavilion with scholars composing poems along the riverbank nearby. Wine cups on lotus leaves float along the river past a pair of geese. The carved screen stand has a design of bats and lotus scrolls.Wang Xizhi (303-361) has been generally regarded as the greatest Chinese calligrapher. His most famous work, composed while at the Orchard Pavilion, is the preface for a compilation of poems. In it, he reflects on tranquil pleasures and the impermanence of life. In 353 CE, 42 scholars gathered to celebrate the Spring Purifying Festival at the Orchid Pavilion near present-day Shaoxing in Zhejiang province. Here, they enjoyed wine drinking and writing poems. Wang's preface remains to date the finest calligraphic work executed in running script.

Qianlong period (1736-1795), Qing dynasty
Object size: H:63.4 x W:65 x D:23.5 cm
Accession No.
Lacquer, wood
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum