Located in the southwest suburb of Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, the Orchid Pavilion is a key point of interest. The attraction of the Orchid Pavilion not only comes from its magnificent landscape and graceful southern China gardening sights, but also from its profound historical culture and its unique and vast reputation in the calligraphic field.
Its reputation completely comes from a historic and elegant gathering of a group of great people including Wang Xizhi, called "Yonghe Xiu Xi (an ancient sacrifice held on the edge of a river)" in the history. On March 3rd of the 9th year of Yonghe period (353 AD) during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Wang Xizhi, a famous calligrapher, invited 42 personages of the time to come here for the Xi ceremony, such as Xie An, Sun Chuo, Xu Xun and Zhi Xun etc.
Orchid Pavilion is not spacious but quite elegant, its major sights include Goose Pool Stele, Orchid Pavilion Stele, "Qu Shui Liu Shang"(mean wine goblets floating in the stream in Chinese), Liushang Pavilion, Imperial Stele Pavilion, Right Army Temple and Calligraphy Museum etc.
The Goose Pond Stele
The first thing you see as you enter the Orchid Pavilion is the Goose Pond. Several geese are swimming happily on the idyllic crystal clear water. On the left hand side of the pond is a small triangle pavilion which contains the famous Goose Pond stone stele, standing in its center. Two Chinese characters (Goose Pond) are carved on the stele. It is said that the two characters were written respectively by Wang Xizhi and His son, Wang Xianzhi - a famous calligrapher. You can easily see that the two characters on the stone stele have a different style of writing.
Liushang Pavilion is the center of the Orchid Pavilion, where Wang Xizhi and his friends drank wine and composed poems. Here Wang Xizhi finished his famous 'Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Anthology'. In front of this Pavilion is a spacious flat surrounded by bamboos. A wandering stream zigzags through this flat. In Wang Xizhi's time, he and his friends sat on both sides of the wandering stream and would set a Chinese drinking cup in the flowing water, and before whoever the cup stopped would compose an impromptu poem or have to drink three cups of wine as punishment. Now every year many calligraphers and calligraphy lovers come here and imitate these ancients.
In the Orchid Pavilion, many other sites including the Wang Xizhi Memorial Temple and the Orchid Pavilion Calligraphy Museum are not to be missed.