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Residence of Chinese Calligraphy King Reopens

The former residence of Wang Xizhi, the king of Chinese calligraphy, reopened to tourists Friday after having been closed for renovation since last year.

Around 1,000 guests, including representatives from the painting and calligraphy circles of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United States and Singapore, together with Russian and Israeli diplomatic envoys to China, visited the restored residence, located in the city of Linyi, east China's Shandong province.

According to Li Qun, secretary of the Linyi City Committee of the Communist Party of China, the renovation cost over 67 million yuan (US$8 million) in total. The residence now covers an area of 5.3 hectares, five times larger than before.

"We can create anything except historic relics," Li said. "We must perfectly handle the relationship between protection and construction in the economic development and do a good job in preserving treasures left by our ancestors. We have to be responsible for history and the future."

In the renovated residence, the already existing relics like an ink stone washing pond and book drying site are still open to tourists. There are also some new scenic spots, such as a temple and a goose pond, adding color to the home.

Wang Xizhi (303-361), of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), was China's most prominent calligrapher. His calligraphy works, using his own style, were imitated by hundreds of thousands of people and exerted great influence on the calligraphy circle both at home and abroad.

(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2003)

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