Orchid Pavilion Gathering
The Orchid Pavilion Gathering of 353 CE, also known as the Lanting Gathering, was a cultural and poetic event during the Six Dynasties era, in China. This event itself has a certain inherent and poetic interest in regard to the development of landscape poetry and the philosophical ideas of Zhuangzi. The gathering at the Orchid Pavilion is also famous for the artistry of the calligraphy of Wang Xizhi, who was both one of the participants as well as the author and calligrapher of the Lantingji Xu or Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion, not to mention the literary mastery of this introduction.
The Orchid Pavilion Gathering of 42 literati included Xie An and Sun Chuo and Wang Pin-Chih at the Orchid Pavilion (Lanting) on Mount Kuaiji just south of Kuaiji (present-day Shaoxing in Zhejiang), during the Spring Purification Festival, on the third day of the third month, to compose poems and enjoy huangjiu. The gentlemen had engaged in a drinking contest: rice-wine cups were floated down a small winding creek as the men sat along its banks; whenever a cup stopped, the man closest to the cup was required to empty it and write a poem. This was known as "floating goblets" (流觴, liúshāng). In the end, twenty-six of the participants composed thirty-seven poems.
Aside from reproductions of the Lantingji Xu, other influences include the Orchid Pavilion Calligraphy College at Shaoxing University and Jay Chou's recording of a song by Vincent Fang entitled "Lántīng Xù" (蘭亭序, "Orchid Pavilion").
Scroll copy of "Lantingji Xu"Edit
The events of the Orchid Pavilion Gathering and the ensuing poems have inspired not only generations of poets, but also painters and other artists.
Main text of an early Tang Dynasty copy of Wang Xizhi's Lantingji Xu by Feng Chengsu (馮承素), located in the Palace Museum, Beijing. This is considered the best surviving copy. Many copies in Chinese history were made from a lost original possibly buried in Emperor Taizong's mausoleum.
Jade Mountain Illustrating the Gathering of Scholars at the Lanting Pavilion, 1790 (Minneapolis Institute of Art)