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Art Gatherings

Officials of different backgrounds had many opportunities to meet each other and interact. The most obvious was literary gatherings involving appreciation of Chinese painting and calligraphy in the collection of members of the imperial clan. An example is found in the colophon inscriptions attached to Wang Xizhi's "Clearing After Snowfall" in the National Palace Museum collection. There we can find that Kublai Khan (Emperor Shizu) had asked Zhao Mengfu and other officials to display works from the court collection of painting and calligraphy, requesting them to write verse and inscriptions for the works. Xiangge Ciji, the elder sister of Ayurbarwada (Emperor Renzong), also collected many works of Chinese painting and calligraphy. She held literary gatherings and invited scholar-officials of various ethnic backgrounds to appreciate her works.

From these works of painting and calligraphy, along with other documentary evidence, one senses the unprecedented opportunity for sharing experiences and cultural exchange among scholars and officials of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds in the upper echelons of Yuan China under the Mongols.