Wang Wei

Wang Wei (wäng wā) [key], 699–759, Chinese poet. He was an extremely versatile man, being a musician and painter as well as a poet. He wrote quatrains almost exclusively; these verses portray quiet scenes like those depicted in the few surviving paintings attributed to him. Wang Wei's delicate landscapes, famed for their depiction of water and mist, were drawn in black ink. He is considered the first master of atmosphere and the founder of Southern Chinese landscape art. After many years of service at court, he is thought to have retired to a Buddhist monastery after the death of his wife. His poems were translated (1959) by Chang Yin-nan and L. C. Walmsley.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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