Cai Jing - Song Dynasty

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       Cai Jing (蔡京, 1047-1126) was a Chinese calligrapher and scholar-official. He passed the national civil-service examination to become a jinshi (presented scholar, 進士) in 1070 and began his official career in provincial posts. He was transferred to the capital, Bianliang (now Kaifeng) in 1082, where he became involved in political factionalism as a supporter of Wang Anshi's (1021-86) radical reforms. Cai is traditionally vilified as the evil minister responsible for the fall of the Northern Song (960-1127). He was exiled after the Jin (金) invasion in 1125 and soon died; the male members of his family were executed.

       Cai Jing’s considerable accomplishments as a calligrapher and litterateur have received scant attention from traditional critics, who believed that good calligraphy could be written only by men of fine character.

Artworks by Cai Jing (view the entire calligraphy gallery)