Date: 戊戌夏仲既望 On the 16th day of the 5th month of the year 1538
Seals on the painting:
虛齋鑒定 (Pang Yuanji’s seal)
萊臣審藏真跡 (Pang Yuanji’s seal)
復父氏 (Chen Chun)
白陽山人 (Chen Chun)
Shen Yue沈約 (441-513), Eight Songs八詠詩
Translation by Richard B. Mather in The Poet Shen Yüeh (441-513): the reticent marquis, Princeton University Press, 1988, pp.94-109.
"Mounting the Terrace, Gazing at the Autumn Moon"
Gazing at the autumn moon!
The autumn moon is gleaming like dressed silk
It shines upon the Terrace of the Triple Toasts
And wavers o'er the Hall of Ninefold Splendors.
Ninefold Splendors with its beams of tortoise shell,
Its floriate rafters with their jade-disc tips.
With all this carved voluptuous beauty
It reflects uniquely the bright lunar rays.
Its frozen splendor enters through embroidered
Limpid radiance hovers o'er the nuptial chamber.
Passing first the door of Flying Swallow,
It shines next upon the bed of Lady Pan.
It shines on tangled shadows of the Portico of
Reflects light footfalls on the Stair of Gold.
Those who remain see this and laugh and sing;
The parting traveler faces it with pain and longing.
It spreads through the vermilion courtyard, ever
Piercing through the blue-green lattice,
On the deserted steps it grieves the lonely swan,
And on the sandy islet stirs resentment in her
Wen-chi shed tears within the Hsiung-nu hall,
And Ming-chün longed for the Han palace.
As for me, what am I doing here,
Lingering on east of these mountains?
“Meeting in the Orchard, Facing the Spring Wind”
Facing the spring wind!
The spring wind rising in the trees of spring!
Light floating gossamers make shadows like a
While falling petals flurry down like mist.
The wind first ripples o'er the Pool of Heaven's
Then blows back past the boughs of slender
When butterflies encounter it their flight is
waved and tossed,
And swallows meeting it turn wings aslant.
It lifts the cassia standard,
Shakes the mushroom baldaquin;
Opens out the skirt of Yen
And blows the sash of Chao.
Chao's sash is flying all askew;
Yen's skirt blows shut and then apart,
With twisted hairpins and besmeared mascara,
They are walking, heads averted, trying to
preserve their looks.
Their looks in any case are radiantly endearing,
And the spring wind, too, is dying down.
The secret chamber opens--the golden knocker
The golden knocker sounds--the lone wife's
reverie is startled.
The phoenix trees have not yet put forth shade,
And waters of the Ch’i have barely turned
The wind now greets the traveling rain on High
And escorts the homing swans to Stele Rock.
The spring wind passes through the nuptial
Rustling silks and satins;
Stirring feelings in secluded rooms
Arousing longings among draperies and
Bringing thoughts of fragrant gardens--how
they all may fade
Awaking memories of orchid blooms--which
one by one are plucked away.
This is the time that brings frustration to the
“How can he be so long away on duty?”
With her goodman not at home
With whom shall she lament the wind of
“At Year's End Mourning for the Dying Plants〞
Mourning for the dying plants!
The dying plants devoid of face or color,
Blasted and sere within the unkempt pathway,
Frozen stubble none can recognize.
In times gone by--on vernal days--
In days gone by--in vernal winds--
They put forth flowers, dangled fruits,
Trailing greens and scattering reds;
Heavy with fragrance west of Magpie Belvedere,
Ablaze with sunlight east of Hope-for-Sylphdom
Escorted home with many a backward look, the
ladies wept in silence for the River Ch'I;
The handsome guests, still lingering, were
cherishing the Upper Room
Here in the cliff cove, by the seashore,
Ice is plentiful; the frost has gathered.
Gleaming bright, it briefly sojourns at the roots;
Buried in dark hollows, lodges in the cracks.
It spreads out soft and fine above the frozen
Drips slender icicles from treacherous rocks.
"Already frustrated by my good lord,
I'm doubly heartsick you are going away on
Dew falls on lofty boughs at early dawn;
Frost fills the reddening sky at the first dusk.
Fleeting fireflies have darkened their bright lamps;
The wild goose cry is halted, then goes on.
The stubble has died down by Palace of Eternal
Weeds rot in corners of the crimson court.
The frost has snatched away the purple on their
And wind dissolved the green within their leaves.
How changed upon the hills the once-green ferns!
How broken in the water are the flattened rushes!
Autumn swans, drawn out in a sparse line,
And shivering smaller birds, huddled in flight!
The paths are weed-grown and the chilly grasses
The grass is long--the weed-grown paths are faint,
Garden and courtyard everyday more choked with
My clothes each day more soaked with dew.
Oh that I might pursue the dawn migrating birds,
And as night falls, fly back with them together to the
"When Frost Comes, Grieving for the Leafless Phoenix Tree"
Grieving for the leafless phoenix tree!
The leafless phoenix tree was early shorn by frost
Swallows arrived: its leaves were not yet sprouted;
Wild swans came: its limbs already bare.
Its roots grow out of Lung-men Hill,
Long branches raised to pierce the sky.
The highest tips reach past a hundred chang;
The lower roots hang o'er a myriad hsün.
Its hidden base not only gnarled and knotted,
But the lonely trunk as well thrusts upward
From the beginning unillumined by the sun,
The whole year long it bears the frost and snow
(The tree speaks)
"I view myself devoid of dignity,
And have no wish to grow by curving moats.
Sweet-smelling scent has never been my nature,
And of flowers and fruit there's nothing I can offer.
Carpenters at times may cast a sideward glance,
But by the prince I'm seldom recognized.
"I find myself a very trifling thing,
On whom the lord's kind favors shine in vain.
I look upon myself as an unworthy tree,
Of no use to support a stately mansion.
I would rather be a zither in the pure ancestral hall,
Accompanying dances for a pair of dark-hued
(The poet speaks)
"Fig leaves may still be fashioned into skirts,
And fine-grained almond into beams.
Don't say that plants and trees are base,
Or that you're vainly shone on by the lord's spare
"His spare light does not shine on you in vain;
It is for his sake that you hold the sound of sobbing.
From the yang boughs comes the air 'Green Waters,”
From the yin the song tune 'Bitter Cold.'
Such generous kindness cannot be ignored;
Dare you not humble your own heart?
If you should meet life-giving spring's arrival,
You would shoot forth greens to brighten the pure
"On Evening Walks Hearing the Night Crane's Cry"
Hearing the night crane's cry!
The night crane crying by the Southern Pond.
Before me he stands here alone beneath the shining
As toward the wind he brandishes his wings.
Such as I am--so mean and insignificant,
Without the "heavenly rank" endowed at birth,
I cherish an eternal hope that hobbles on,
Depending on the spring or winter to be grieved or
I feel compassion for the startled duck above the
And sorrow for the separated crane among the
The separated crane at one time was not so,
But only lately set out from the northern bourne of
Suddenly tempestuous winds arose,
And for a while he rested by Assembled Brilliance
But once again the winter ice closed in,
And lodging in the water was not suitable.
Desiring to remain, he could not stay;
Desiring to depart, he was already tired of flying.
Striving to o'ertake the rise of the tempestuous
He sought a warmer clime toward Heng and Ch' u.
Once more he met the southward-flying swans,
And mingling in their ranks became as one of them.
Above the sea was mostly clouds and mist;
In the vast haze he lost his way among the isles.
From here he took his leave of the old flock
And headed on his own toward islands in the Hsiao
Just now he's nourishing his cloud-traversing wings;
In a short while he'll raise his piercing cry.
The one he's hoping for is Master of Fu-ch'iu,
Who'll come ere long to seek him out.
“On Dawn Excursions Listening to the Morning Swans”
Listening to the morning swans!
The morning swans pass overhead as it grows
Traversing tiny ripples on the River Jo,
They set out for the distant shoreline of
As I admire the bright moon's fading rays,
I look back toward the migrant fowls' swift-
And I, the old nag--what of my oft-cherished
I know my deeds are still unrealized.
The night drags on and on; the dawn is slow in
Sad thoughts are a jumble, filling up my breast.
I gaze out at the hills and streams--all of them
Only the Starry River is still recognized.
I hear the wild geese nightly winging south,
While alien teardrops nightly soak my gown.
Spring swans can dream of homing at year's end;
The alien even yet has not gone home.
The old year goes, its joys and pleasures ended;
As the new year comes, its prospect is not good.
I seize my collar--only in my body am I here;
I beat my breast- events have mostly gone
The dark blue sash, though long, is easily
White clouds-- in truth remote- but are they
hard to reach?
“Untying Girdle Pendants, Quitting Court and Marketplace"
Quitting court and marketplace!
The court and marketplace recede now deeper in
the evening sun.
I've bid farewell to northern capstrings, heading
Sailing on eastern streams, I look back toward the
I have encountered much good fortune sent from
heaven and earth;
I've met the double radiance of sun and moon.
As for the trifle of my "being good, "
It is not due to any real fragrance of my feelings.
I pretend to wait my orders at the Gold Horse Gate;
Am favored with high feasting in the Cypress Beam
Watch the fighting beasts inside the Tiger Cage,
Gaze out afar from Spreading Fragrance Hall.
I now disgrace a southern ward of K'uai-chi
Where I maladminister the bright and noble of a
Not that my "feelings have been often hurt, "
But if I write them here I can find comfort.
I think fondly of the old days--how I cherish
The sun is setting--oh that I were going home!
"Donning the Coarse Cloth, Keeping Ward East of the Mountains"
Keeping ward east of the mountains!
East of the mountains where a myriad ranges rise
Where two streams converge to flow as one,
Their waters pure to look on as the sky.
Along their banks green sedges spread;
Between the cliff walls red osmanthus clusters
As one looks up, not only is it hid and dim,
But downward too the view is darkly veiled,
The distant wood reverberates with howling
While nearer trees ring out with chirping insects.
Footpaths run along west of Jo Creek;
A freshet gushes east of Gold Flower Mountain.
Plunging down ten thousand jen o'er treacherous
It pours one hundred chang in a free fall.
Its channeled waters spill their liquid thunder,
Flying headlong like the sun's white aureole.
There caverned wells contain pellucid vapors;
Oozing caves spew forth a flying wind
From jadestone orifices unguents are drip-dripping;
In stone grottoes stalactites arch overhead.
Rock-strewn and rough, the path grows ever
Only by most painful hobbling can my steps
What I've most loved throughout my life
Now unexpectedly in evening years I have found
I would depart the court forever, never to return,
Yet must regret the "finery of Tsou" is still
I greet the pure untrammeled space of woods and
Yet serve the muddled sham of vulgar custom.
By good fortune the Imperial Virtue's just now on
It so happens Heaven's Mainstay is as yet
Having purged the old and launched the new,
it surely will transform the people, and their way
The pure in heart will scour the world's pollution;
Frugal rule reform the people's waste.
When order is complete, then I'll return to the
And linger here engaged with polypores and
29.9 × 231.7 cm (11 13/16 × 91 1/4 in.)
Wirt D. Walker Fund
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Chinese Art Society of American Museums, 1955, p. 66 & 79.Jack Sewell, Ming-Ch’ing Dynasties [Exh. cat.] (AIC, 1964)
-Osvald Siren. Chinese Painting:Leading Masters and Principles. (New York: Ronald Press, 1956-58), vol. VII, Annotated Lists, p. 167, as “Lotus Flowers on a Summer Morning”
- Archives of Asian Art (1956), p. 66, Fig. 6
-Charles F. Kelley, “A Flowering Lotus Scroll of the Ming Dynasty,” The Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly. November, 1956, pp. 65-67
“Oriental Art Recently Acquired by American Museums, 1955,” Chinese Art Society of America Archives, X, 1956, fig. 6 (illus.)
The Art Institute of Chicago 1964 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 64-25438, p. (13)
Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Paintings: Third Series, Vol. 1 American and Canadian Collections 1, Research Field of Art, East Asian Department, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo, by University of Tokyo Press, 2013; page I-20, 21, No. A 3–064.
The Art Institute of Chicago : Ming (1368-1644) Ching (1644-1921) dynasties Exhibition 1964
Nagatani, Inc., Chicago collection: Tomioka Tessai (1836-1924)
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