王羲之（ＷＡＮＧ ＸＩ ＺＨＩ）是晋朝著名的中国书法家，其书法风靡于世， 受后人尊称为“书圣”。他不但以革新书法闻名于世，而且也因为他毕生献身于中国书法，建立了划时代的功绩而流芳百世。
在他年纪比较大的时候，他开始创立自己的风格，他的字自成一体，独创一格。 他的行书生动活泼，充分表现出他的感情。他最著名的书法作品是＜＜兰亭序＞＞。 这是他在公元３５３年完成的作品，那时候，王羲之邀请了四十一位亲朋戚友（其中包括当代的书法家和诗人）， 在乡间的兰亭举行野外盛会。他们列在溪水两旁，把羽觞（一种轻便的酒杯）放在水上，顺水而下，每人顺序取觞（ＳＨＡＮＧ）饮酒作诗。写不出诗的人，都要被罚酒，当天有２６人作诗，一共写了３５首。大家也都喝了不少酒。
一个好的书法家不但能通过书法表达他的思想， 而且他所写出来的字也必须充满生气，活力并具备完美的形体。书法是一门艺术，它需清醒的头脑以及对毛笔有全面的掌握，才能够把字写好。 这需要很多年的精心磨练才会有成就。
在童年时代，王羲之就对书法有浓厚的兴趣，他在练字的时候，往往废寝忘食。 据说有一次，他想书法入了迷，居然把手中拿着的面包当毛笔，用来沾墨想写字！ 他经常到屋外的小池塘洗毛笔，结果池里的水都变黑了。
王羲之的儿子王献之（他的第七儿子）也是很勤于练字。 他在十二岁那年，把一个经过父亲改写过的字拿去给母亲看。他的母亲也精于书法。 她一看就认出丈夫所写的那一画。
王羲之当过官。他是一个心肠很好的人，他曾劝过同僚，对人要公正仁慈。 王羲之后来因为生病而辞官，在公元３６１年去世，享年五十八岁。 王羲之父子因为努力用功，成为有名的书法家，一直到今天，人们还是把他们奉为勤劳这种美德的象征。
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Wang Xizhi is known as the Sage of Caligraphy. He is remembered not only for revolutionising the art of Chinese writing, but also for his complete devotion to this traditional Chinese art form.
Born in 303 AD in the state of Eastern Jin, Wang Xishi started learning how to write when he was seven. His first teachers were his father's elder brother and a well-known lady calligrapher, Madam Wei Shuo.
Wang Xizhi began by mastering the zheng (regular) style calligraphy. Under his school of calligraphy, the Chinese ideograms were written in symmetrical blocks. As he grew older, the calligrapher began to develop his own style of writing. Wang Xizhi's xing (walking) style of calligraphy breathed life and motion into the written words. As its name suggests, xing calligraphy is a more flowing style of writing, allowing the writer to express his feelings and his moods through the brush.
Wang Xizhi's most celebrated piece of calligraphy is Lan Ting Xu (the prelude of the Orchid Pavillion). This was written in 353 AD, When the calligrapher and a group of 41 relatives and friends were on an outing in the countryside.
The picnickers sat by the two sides of a meadering stream. Little cups of wine were then floated downstream. When a cup stopped in front of anyone, that person was required to compose a poem. Those who failed to do so were made to drink the wine as forfeit.
At the end of the day, 26 of the picnickers had to compose a total of 35 poems. Much wine had also been consumed in the process.
The good company and the strong wine put Wang Xizhi in such a happy mood that he took up his brush and, there and then, wrote the Lan Ting Xu as a prelude to the collection of poems. It is said that Wang Xizhi tried to reproduce the Prelude for nearly 100 times several days later, but he was never able to match his spontaneous calligraphy of that day.
The original Lan Ting Xu, which is considered the greatest masterpiece of Chinese calligraphy in history, was subsequently acquired by Emperor Tai Zong of the Tang dynasty. He liked it so much that he ordered his court's calligraphers to make copies of it. When he died, Wang Xizhi's calligraphy was buried with him.
Although the original Lan Ting Xu disappeared from the world in 650 AD, Wang Xizhi's style of writing continued to be a dominant influence of Chinese calligraphy. Emperor Tai Zhong's high regard for the prelude encouraged many calligraphers to imitate Wang Xizhi's writing style.
A good calligrapher is not only able to express his thoughts through his writing, he is expected to give life and form to his words. It is an art which requires a clear mind and complete control of the writing painting brush. It is an art that takes years of painstaking practice to achieve.
Even as a child, Wang Xizhi was absorbed in practising his calligraphy that he would often forget to eat. A story goes that he absent-mindedly dipped a piece of bread into the black ink, thinking that it was his brush! And a pond that was outside his house turned completely black because he used it so often to wash his brushes.
Wang Xianzhi (the seventh son of Xizhi) worked equally hard on his calligraphy. When he was 12, he showed a word which his father had corrected to his mother. The lady, who was also a calligrapher, immediately spotted the stroke that had been written by her husband.
The young boy realised that he was still very poor as compared to his father. Determined to improve his writing, the young boy filled 18 big jars with water and promised that he would not give up until he had finished using the the water to wet his ink stone!
Wang Xizhi served as a court official in his adulthood. He was a compassionate man and tried to persuade the other officials to treat the common people fairly and humanely. However, he retired because of his ill-health and died in 361 AD when he was 58. To this day he examplifies the diligence. He and his son, Wang Xianzhi, are respected for their patience and hard work.
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