Xiǎng (饗) is defined as a banquet to entertain villagers with drinks according to Shuowen Jiezi.
Food is the paramount necessity of the people, which was selected from Records of the Grand Historian: Ranked Biography of Li Shiqi and Lu Gu.
Eating and drinking is a big deal to both people and animals. Having food to eat is of paramount importance. Only when we have enough to eat, will it become a pleasure to think about how to eat well and cook well. It is also a pleasure to think about how to drink well and make the drink taste better after we have got something to drink. After all, nobody can live without eating and drinking.
Calligraphy is also a big deal. Legend has it that when Cang Jie invented the Chinese characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. Only when we are able to write can we start to consider how to write well and what to write with smoothly. We are destined to write and rewrite in our lifetime.
It is only human nature that we are not satisfied with the big deal. Instead, we always try to go after artistic pursuits or something fun by all means possible.
The past thousands of years have witnessed the development of human’s pursuit of diet ranging from ingredients to culinary skills, from cookware and dining space, and from table manners to food cultures – so many things to write about.
The same thing also applies to calligraphy with its focus shifting between different aspects in hundreds of years, from writing materials to calligraphic styles, from content to form, and from a spontaneous overflow of mind to the adoption of calligraphic techniques.
Thus, it is fair to say that diet and calligraphy are of equal importance. In this sense, it is hard to decide which one is more important. Indeed, it is an enjoyment to develop diet and calligraphy into leisure pursuits.
Mr. Liu Shan’s affection for eating and drinking runs so deep that he dreams of establishing “Scholar Shan’s Kitchen” just like the bookless “Scholar Shan’s Study” he conceived. As a calligraphy lover, I am delighted to join him to help make his pleasant dream come true.
Whether or not it is a pleasure to the diner and the reader, it is up to them to have the final say.
Written by XU Tianjin
Xu Tianjin,born in Urumchi,Xinjiang in 1958.Professor and doctoral tutor in the School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University, is mainly engaged in field archaeology and the teaching and research on archaeology in Shang and Zhou Dynasties. He has curated a number of exhibitions as follows:
Bronze History—Selection of Western Zhou Bronzes Excavated in Zhouyuan;
Treasures from Tang Dynasty—Selection of Hejia Village Legacy;
Power and Belief—Liangzhu Cultural Relics Archaeological Show;
Splendid China—the Ding Culture in China.
Self-Content, Xu Tianjin Solo Calligraphy Exhibition
Equal View, Xu Tianjin Solo Calligraphy Exhibition