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Letter to Master Shutong
Important Cultural Property

Daoqian (? - 1106?)
China, 11th-12th century
H.28.4 cm, W.47.6 cm
@ Daoqian was a Zen monk active in the area of Hangzhou at the end of the Northern Song dynasty(960-1127). He is known for reciting poetry with the famed poet Sushi ("soo-shih") of the same period. This letter, written as a reply to Daoqian's friend Master Shutong, states that the author had not received the latter's letter until recently, since he had been away travelling since the twelfth month of the previous year. Daoqian writes he has not for a moment forgotten Master Shutong, asks after his health during the winter cold, and urges him to take good care of himself. The supple yet strong calligraphic style is based on that of the Chinese master Wang Xizhi (303-361). This letter is the only known sample of calligraphy by Daoqian, and is the oldest known example by a Zen monk, making it a very rare and valuable work.

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Letter to Master Shutong
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