Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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北宋 黃庭堅 草書廉頗藺相如傳 卷
Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru

Artist:
Huang Tingjian (Chinese, 1045–1105)
Period:
Northern Song dynasty (960–1127)
Date:
ca. 1095
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 13 1/4 in. × 60 ft. 4 1/2 in. (33.7 × 1840.2 cm) Overall with mounting: 13 1/2 in. × 71 ft. 5 5/8 in. (34.3 × 2178.4 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Accession Number:
1989.363.4
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 210
Poet, calligrapher, and Chan (Zen) Buddhist adept, Huang Tingjian believed that calligraphy should be spontaneous and self-expressive—“a picture of the mind.” Containing nearly twelve hundred characters, this handscroll is a master­piece of cursive-script writing. It transcribes an account of a rivalry between two officials: Lian Po, a distinguished general; and Lin Xiangru, a skilled strategist. Huang’s transcription ends abruptly with Lin’s words: “When two tigers fight, one must perish. I behave as I do because I put our country’s fate before private feuds.” Read in the context of Song political infighting, Huang’s transcription becomes a powerful indictment of the partisanship that led to his own banishment in 1094.
Inscription: Artist's inscription (206 columns in semi-cursive and cursive scripts)

廉頗者,趙之良將也。趙惠文王十六年,廉頗為趙將伐齊,大破之,取晉陽,拜為上卿,以勇氣聞於諸侯。藺相如者,趙人也,為趙宦者令繆賢舍人。趙惠文王時,得楚和氏壁[壁字點去]璧。秦昭王聞之,使人遣趙王書,願以十五城請易璧。趙王與大將軍廉頗諸大臣謀:欲事[事字點去]與秦,秦城恐不可得,徒見欺;欲勿與,即患秦兵之來。計未定,求人可使報秦者,未得。宦者令繆賢曰:“臣舍人藺相如可使。”王問:“何以知之?”對曰:“臣嘗有罪,竊計欲亡走燕;臣舍人相如止臣,曰:‘君何以知燕王?’臣語曰:‘臣嘗從大王與燕王會境上,燕王私握臣手曰:“願結友”。以此知之,故欲往。’相如謂臣曰:‘夫趙彊而燕弱,而君幸於趙王,故燕王欲結於君。今君乃亡趙走燕,燕畏趙,其勢必不敢留君,而束君歸趙矣。君不如肉袒伏斧質請罪,則幸得脱矣。’臣從其計,大王亦幸赦臣,臣竊以為其人勇士,有智謀,宜可使。”於是王召見,(問)藺相如曰:“秦王以十五城請易寡人之璧,可與不?”相如曰:“秦彊而趙弱,不可不許。”王曰:“取吾璧,不與我城,奈何?”相如曰:“秦以城求璧而趙不與,曲在趙。趙與璧,而秦不與趙城,曲在秦。均之二策,寧與[許]以負秦曲。”王曰:“誰可使者?”相如曰:“王必無人,臣願奉璧往使。城入趙而璧留秦。城不入,臣請完璧歸趙。”趙王於是遂遣相如奉璧西入秦。秦王坐章臺見相如,相如奉璧奏秦王。秦王大喜,傳以示美人及左右,左右皆呼萬歲。相如視秦王無意還[還字點去]償趙城,乃前曰:“璧有瑕,請指示王。”王授璧,相如因持璧卻立,倚柱,怒髮上衝冠,謂秦王曰:“大王欲得璧,使人發書至趙王,趙王悉召群臣議,皆曰:‘秦貪,負其彊,以空言求璧,償城恐不可得。’議不欲與秦璧。臣以為布衣不[不字點去]之交尚不相欺,况大國乎!臣以一璧之故逆彊秦之驩,不可。於是趙王乃齋戒五日,使臣奉璧,拜送書於庭。何者?嚴大國之威以修敬也。今臣至,大王見臣列觀,禮節甚倨;得璧,傳之美人以戲弄臣。臣觀大王無意償趙王城邑,故臣復取璧。大王必欲急臣,臣頭(今)與璧俱碎於柱矣。”相如持其璧睨柱,欲以擊柱。秦王恐其破璧,乃辭謝固請,召有司按圖,指從此以往十五都與趙。相如度秦王特以詐陽[詳]為與趙城,實不可得,乃謂秦王曰:“和氏璧,天下所共傳寶也,趙王恐,不敢不獻。趙王送璧時,齋戒五日,今大王亦宜齋戒五日,設九賓于廷,臣乃敢上璧。”秦王度之,终不敢[可]彊奪,遂許齋五日,舍相如廣成傳。(舍)相如度秦王雖齋,決負約不償城,乃使其從者衣褐,懷其璧,從徑道(亡),歸璧于趙。秦王齋五日後,乃設九賓禮於廷,引趙使者藺相如。相如至,謂秦王曰:“秦自繆公以來廿餘君,未嘗有堅明約束者也。臣誠恐見欺於王而負趙,故令人持璧歸,間至趙矣。且秦彊而趙弱,大王遣一介之使至趙,趙立奉璧來。今以秦之彊而先割十五都與趙,趙豈敢留璧而得罪於大王乎?臣知欺大王之罪當誅,臣請就湯镬,唯大王與群臣孰計議之。”秦王與群臣相視而嘻。左右或欲引相如去,秦王因曰:“今殺相如,終不能得璧也,而絕秦趙之驩,不如因而厚遇之,使歸趙,趙王豈以一壁之故欺秦邪!”卒廷見相如,畢禮而歸之。相如既歸,趙王以為賢大夫使不辱於諸侯,拜相如為上夫大[二字順序倒反]。(秦亦不以城予趙,趙亦终不予秦璧。)其後(……)與秦王會澠池。(……)(即罷歸國,以)相如功大,拜為上卿,位在廉頗之右。廉頗曰:“我(為趙將),有攻城野戰之大功,而藺相如徒以口舌為勞,(而)位居我上,(且相如素賤人,吾羞,不忍為之下。”宣言曰):“我見相如,必辱之。”(相如聞,不肯與會。相如每朝時,常稱病,不欲與廉頗爭列。 已而)相如出,望見廉頗,(相如)引車避匿。(於是)舍人相與諫(曰:“臣所以去親戚而事君者,乃慕君之高義也。今君與廉頗同列,廉君宣惡言而君畏匿之,恐懼殊甚,且庸人尚羞之,况於將相乎!臣等不肖,)請辭(去)。(藺相如固止之,曰:“公之視廉將軍孰與秦王?”曰:“不 若也。”)相如曰:“(夫以秦王之威,而相如廷叱之,辱其群臣,)相如虽駑,獨 畏廉將軍哉?公之視廉將 軍孰與秦王? 顧(吾念之,)彊秦(之所以)不敢加兵於趙者,徒以吾兩人在也。(今)两虎共鬥,其勢不俱生。吾所以為此者,(以)先 國家之急而後私讎也。”(廉頗聞之,肉袒負荆,因賓客至藺相如門謝罪。曰:“鄙賤之人, 不知將軍寬之至此也。”卒相與驩,為刎頸之交。)

Label strip

Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983). 1 column in semi-cursive script, undated:

山谷老人草書藺相如廉頗合傳,大風堂長物。

Colophons[1]

1. Xiang Yuanbian 項元汴 (1525–1590), 1 column in standard script, undated; 2 seals:

Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru, written in large cursive script by Huang Luzhi [Huang Tingjian] of the Song dynasty and treasured by Xiang Yuanbian of the Ming dynasty. It is worth one hundred [pieces of] gold. [Seals]: Zijing, Molin Shanren

宋黄鲁直大草書《廉頗藺相如傳帖》,明項元汴珍秘,其值百金。[印]:子京、墨林山人

2. Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983), 2 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1956; 2 seals:

On the Double Ninth Festival of the bingshen year [October 12, 1956] while residing in Tokyo, I took my calligraphies and paintings out of their cases in order to air them out. Regretfully I recalled that five years ago someone took from me [another calligraphy by Huang Tingjian,] the handscroll Shrine to the Queller of the Waves. When can [these two scrolls] ever come together again? Yuan [Seals]: Zhang Yuan zhi yinxin, Sanqian Daqian

丙申重九江戶借居,展曝行箧所携書畫,對此惘然。憶五年前為人篡去之《伏波神祠》卷,何時始為延津之合耶。爰 [印]: 張爰之印信、三千大千

Collectors' seals

Song emperor Gaozong 宋高宗 (r. 1127–1162)
Shaoxing 紹興
Shaoxing 紹興
Shaoxing 紹興
Shaoxing 紹興
Neifu shu yin 内府書印

Jia Sidao 賈似道 (1213–1275)
Qiuhuo tushu 秋壑圖書

Ouyang Xuan 歐陽玄 (1283–1357)
Ouyang Xuan yin 歐陽玄印

Cao Ziwen 曹子文 (14th c.?)
Cao Ziwen 曹子文

Gu Lu 顧祿 (middle to late 14th c.)
Gu Lu siyin 顧祿私印

Xiang Yuanbian 項元汴 (1525–1590)
Tianlai Ge 天籟閣
Pingsheng zhenshang 平生真賞
Zisun shichang 子孫世昌
Xiang shuzi 項叔子
Xiang shi Zijing 項氏子京
Molin Xiang jizi zhang 墨林項季子章
Yimin 逸民
Yinju fangyan 隱居放言
You he buke 有何不可
Xulang Zhai 虛朗齋
Xiang Molin fu miji zhi yin 項墨林父祕笈之印
Zuili 檇李
Xiang Molin jianshang zhang 項墨林鋻賞章
Xiang Yuanbian yin 項元汴印
Xiang Zijing jia zhencang 項子京家珍藏
Shenyou xinshang 神游心賞
Ji ao 寄敖
Shenpin 神品
Molin miwan 墨林祕玩
Zijing suocang 子京所藏
Ju Ni zhi chou 沮溺之儔
Gongbao shijia 宮保世家
Xiang Yuanbian shi shending zhenji 項元汴氏審定真跡
You 酉
Shiwai fabao 世外法寶
Lanxue Zhai 蘭雪齋
Shenqi 神奇
Huanfu 幻浮
Chisong Xianshi 赤松仙史
Haoli sheng 蒿笠生
Xichou geng ou 西疇耕耦
Weixin jingtu 惟心淨土
Ruoshui Xuan 若水軒
Tui mi 退密
Molin Tang 墨林堂
Xiangyan Jushi 香巖居士
Qulu 蘧廬
Boya Tang baowan yin 博雅堂寳玩印
Picha Jushi 癖茶居士
Wuwai xuanshang 物外玄賞
Huixin chu 會心處
Yechu 野處
You fang zhi wai 游方之外
Huiquan Shanqiao 惠泉山樵
Lengyan Jingshe 棱巖精舍
Nanhua Xianshi 南華仙史
Tianchou gengnou 田疇耕耨
Yuanyang Hu zhang 鴛鴦湖長
Xiang Yuanbian shi shending zhenji 項元汴氏審定真跡
Taohuayuan li renjia 桃花源裏人家
Molin zi 墨林子
Zijing fu yin 子京父印
Xiang Molin jianshang fashu minghua 項墨林鋻賞法書名畫
Molin Waishi 墨林外史
Zijing zhenmi 子京珍祕
Zuili Xiang shi shijia baowan 檇李項氏士家寳玩
Molin fu 墨林父
Zhucha Tingzhang 煮茶亭長
Molin yan pi 墨林硯癖

An Qi 安岐 (born 1683)
Chaoxian ren 朝鮮人
An Qi zhi yin 安岐之印
Guxiang Shuwu 古香書屋
An Yizhou jia zhencang 安儀周家珍藏
Zhenmi 珍祕
Zisun bao zhi 子孫保之

Qing emperor Qianlong 清帝乾隆 (r. 1736–1795)
Qianlong yulan zhi bao 乾隆御覽之寳
Shiqu baoji 石渠寳笈

Yongxing 永瑆 (1752–1823)
Yongxing zhi yin 永瑆之印
Yijin Zhai yin 詒晉齋印

Li Tingjing 李廷敬 (died 1806)
Li Tingjing yin 李廷敬印
Pingyuan Shanfang 平遠山房

Li Meng’an 李夢安 (Qing dynasty?)
Longxi shuzi Jingzhi 隴西叔子敬之

Tan Jing 譚敬 (1911–1991)
Tan shi 譚氏
He An fu 和庵父
Tan Jing siyin 譚敬私印
Ou Zhai Zhuren 區齋主人
Danning Jushi 澹寧居士
Yueren Tan Jing yin 粵人譚敬印
He An jianding zhenji 龢庵鋻定真跡
Ou Zhai zhencang 區齋珍藏
Tan shi Ou Zhai shuhua zhi zhang 譚氏區齋書畫之章
He An 和庵
He An 龢庵
Ou Zhai 區齋
Ou Zhai 區齋
Tan Jing 譚敬
Ou Zhai fu yin 區齋父印
Tan 譚
Danning Tang 澹寧堂
Shuangjian Zhai 雙建齋
Shi kang 始康
Liu chuang 柳窗
Xuelang An 雪浪庵
Qiguan 奇觀
Song Liao 松寮
Pingyuan Shanfang 平遠山房

Liu Dingzhi 劉定之 (20th c.)
Gouqu Liu Dingzhi Zhuang 句曲劉定之裝

Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983)
Dafeng Tang yin大風堂印
Bieshi rongyi 別時容易
Diguo zhi fu 敵國之富
Zhang Yuan zhi yin 張爰之印
Jichou yihou suode 己丑以後所得
Zhang Yuan 張爰
Daqian bo 大千缽

Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford, Jr., 1913–1988)
Hanguang Ge zhu Gu Luofu jiancang Zhongguo gudai shuhua zhi zhang 漢光閣主顧洛阜鑑藏中國古代書畫之章

Unidentified
Zhang shi Dongji 張氏東既
Renzeng 仁贈
Neixing Zhai 内省齋
Fanghu shuyin 方壺書印
Mochi qingxing 墨池清興

Illegible: 2

[1] Translations from Department records.
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