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Painting & Calligraphy
Kou Xia (1884-1953)
Artwork Image

[The content of the calligraphy is an excerpt from the postscript by Dong Qichang (1555-1636) in 1604 on the famous calligraphic masterpiece "Mid-autumn Festival" of Wang Xianzhi (344-386), the 7th son of Wang Xizhi (303-361). "Mid-Autumn Festival" contains three lines and 22 characters. The extant manuscript is generally considered to be an uncompleted copy by the Song Dynasty calligrapher Mi Fu (1051-1107), who imitated Wang's manuscript "Shier Yue Ge Tie". The "Mid-autumn Festival" is one of the "Three Rarities". The work is currently exhibited in the Palace Museum in Beijing.]

Mi Fu (1051-1107) appraised this masterwork of Daling [official title of Wang Xianzhi (344-386)] as the best of all. The calligraphic style of Zijing (courtesy name of Wang) is also known as one-stroke cursive script (which blends all characters in the writing in a single stroke). The "Shier yue ge tie" is lost now; these after the characters "qing deng da jun" are missing. The remaining is filled by these from the "Ge tie" (also known as Chunhua ge tie, the oldest imperial anthology of calligraphy rubbings made in 992 during the Emperor Tai Zong's reign of the Northern Song Dynasty). What a lasting joy.

Presented to Mister Yanshan. Kou Xia (signature)
Seal: Xuanci

Artist Bio
Kou Xia (1884-1953), courtesy name Shengfu, pseudonym Xuanci, was a native of Pucheng, Shaanxi province. He was a famous politician and calligrapher. At school, he was one of the representatives of the student movement in Shaanxi; in 1906, he joined the Tongmenghui, also known as the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance, an underground resistance movement founded by Sun Yat-sen, Song Jiaoren, and others in Tokyo, Japan, on 20 August 1905. Following the victory of the Xinhai Revolution, also known as the Revolution of 1911, the Republic of China was founded. Kou Xia was elected Vice President of Shaanxi provisional parliament, and member of congress. In 1922 in Beijing, Kou attended the First Congress as a Member of the House of Representatives.

In 1923, Cao Kun (1862-1938) infamously acquired the presidential office by openly bribing assembly members with 5000 silver dollars each. Kou strongly disagreed with this and went to Guangzhou to join Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) and became Marshal House adviser. At that time, most civilian officers of Sun Yat-sen were calligraphers, like Wu Zhihui (1865-1953), Xie Wuliang (1884-1964), and Zhang Jiluan (1888-1941). They prepared documents for Sun Yat-sen and also studied poetry and literature.

Later, Sun Yat-sen appointed Kou Xia to participate at the Beijing Coup d'état by Feng Yuxiang (1882-1948) against Chinese President Cao Kun, leader of the Zhili warlord faction. In March 1925, Sun died in Beijing. Later, Feng was defeated. Kou detached himself from politics and made his living in Beijing selling calligraphy.

In 1931, Yang Hucheng (1893-1949) presided over the Shaanxi government; he invited Kou Xia to serve as a member of the provincial government, and as a senior consultant. Kou was fond of epigraphy. With the support of Yang Hucheng and Shao Lizi (1882-1967), Kou founded the Xijing Jinshi shuhua xuehui (Xijing* epigraphy calligraphy and painting association) with other scholars like, Zhang Hanshan (1880-1969) and Dang Qingfan (1885-1966). Kou was the chairman. Aiming to promote culture, they conducted research, held exhibitions and produced publications.

Kou Xia was renowned for his clerical script and Wei monumental style. His calligraphy can be found on inscribed plaques in Xi'an, like the one at the gate of the villa of Yang Hucheng, and the well-known one at Xi'an Renmin Square.

*In 1932, the National government of Republic of China set her capital in Jinling (now Nanjing), and intended to establish Xi'an in Shaanxi province as provisional capital, and renamed the city as Xijing.