This work illustrates a rarely seen progression of Wang Jingwei’s calligraphy, spanning more than 30 years. It is also significant in other ways:
The fan, dedicated to Zeng Xing (1882-1954), is Wang’s calligraphy of “The Ballad of Mulan,” which was composed in Northern Wei dynasty (386–535) based on the legendary heroine who went to war in place of her father. For more about Zeng Xing, Wang’s friend and advisor, and an early supporter of the Revolution, read Wang Jingwei: His Life, Ideas and Beliefs (pp. 495-496)
On the left, Wang wrote that signing the fan “Sister Zhenghui” after the essayist Chen Zhenghui (1604-1656), was intended to be a play on his own pen name “Jingwei” (homophone to “Zhenghui” in Cantonese) after a legendary bird, which, according to legend, was ancient Emperor Yan’s daughter who drowned and came back to life as a bird whose mission was to fill the sea with stones and twigs.
Many similar discoveries can be found by analyzing the original manuscripts and materials in all the books in the Wang Jingwei & Modern China series.
In thirty-two year, affairs of the country have gone through ups and downs, people have come and gone. Yet this calligraphy remains fresh as new.WANG JINGWEI