Shaoxing Orchid Pavilion
Shaoxing Orchid Pavilion [Photo provided to enshaoxing.com]
Shaoxing Orchid Pavilion, or Lan Ting, is located in the southwest of Shaoxing in East China's Zhejiang province.
The Orchid Pavilion is famous for Lanting Xu (A Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Poems), written by the famous calligrapher Wang Xizhi. Today, it remains a popular venue for festivals celebrating the art of fine calligraphy.
According to historical records, back in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317-420), Wang Xizhi (AD 303-361) invited 41 friends for an outing at the Orchid Pavilion. Floating a small stream was a little cup filled with liquor. Whenever it stopped in front of someone, that person was obliged to improvise a poem, or drink the liquor if he failed to come up with one. At the end of the day, 37 poems were composed by 25 scholars.
Wang, as the initiator of this merry activity, picked up a brush and composed Lanting Xu. Considered the greatest masterpiece of Chinese calligraphy, the work crowned not only Wang as "the sage of calligraphy" but also the place as the "calligraphy mecca".
Today, the garden, covered with luxuriant trees, crystal-clear streams and dense bamboo groves, is a popular tourist attraction.