Five Tang Poems Artist: Wang Duo (Chinese, 1592–1652)

12 January 1642

Asian Art

Not on view

Wang Duo was one of the most innovative calligraphers of the seventeenth century. He began his study at an early age by copying the orthodox masters of the classical tradition, Wang Xizhi and his son Wang Xianzhi. Over a lifetime of daily copying and concentrated study, Wang Duo was able to internalize his models and completely transform them. In addition to the two Wangs, he looked for inspiration to the Tang-dynasty masters who worked in a wild cursive script. This work features an irregular number of characters in each column and characters of varying size, tone, and width. While overall there is a ribbonlike fluidity to the movement of the brush, at some points the lines take sharper, more angular turns. These characteristics are quite different from other, more orthodox early seventeenth-century calligraphers and made Wang Duo’s writing appear unusual or strange, qualities he and his contemporaries prized.


Handscroll: calligraphy, ink on paper


11 1/4 × 188 1/2 in. (28.6 × 478.8 cm)
without mounting: 11 1/8 × 188 1/4 in. (28.3 × 478.2 cm)
with mounting: 13 7/16 in. (34.1 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of H. Christopher Luce, B.A. 1972

Accession Number



Ming dynasty (1368–1644)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



H. Christopher Luce, New York; Christie's, Wednesday, December 2, 1992, lot 38; Li Qiyan, Qunyu Zhai Collection, Hong Kong

  • Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 130–31 (detail), 132–35, 373, pl. 121.

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