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Peter C. Sturman

[zi Mojie ]

(b near Taiyuan, Shaanxi Province, ad 701; d c. 761).

Chinese poet, painter and Musician. One of China’s greatest poets, he was also a painter at a time when relatively few men of high social position practised this art. His reputation as a painter was limited in his own time, but his unparalleled stature as a man of letters attracted the attention of scholar–official painters of subsequent periods, who celebrated Wang Wei as the founder of the literati tradition of painting ( see China, People’s Republic of §V 4., (ii) ). Born into a powerful and prestigious clan, at the age of 15 he dazzled the Tang court at Chang’an (modern Xi’an, Shaanxi Province) with his precocious skills as a poet, painter, calligrapher and musician. He passed the metropolitan examinations to receive his jinshi degree at the age of 20 and was appointed Assistant Secretary of Music. He ended his career with the high office of Right Assistant Director of the Department of State Affairs....