Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Song of One Year

Artist:
Tang Yin (Chinese, 1470–1524)
Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
dated 1522
Culture:
China
Medium:
Folding fan mounted as an album leaf; ink on gold-flecked paper
Dimensions:
Image: 6 13/16 x 19 5/8 in. (17.3 x 49.8 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
Edward Elliott Family Collection, Douglas Dillon Gift, 1988
Accession Number:
1988.394.2
Not on view
Signature: Poem: Song of One Year (title and poem in 27 lines of fluid running script)
Three hundred sixty days in one year,
Ninety days each in spring, summer, autumn, winter;
Winter's chill and summer's heat are hardest to bear,
Cold like a knife, hot like a burn;
Spring's third month and autumn's ninth are said to be warm.
But with warm weather, wind and rain are frequent.
Calculating carefully, in one year good days are few,
An additional difficulty is finding good scenery;
Suppose you do happen upon beautiful scenery on a fine day,
There is still the matter of an appreciative heart and a pleasant time.
Don't burn tall candles reflecting in goblets of fragrant wine;
That is also the empty life in the world of men.
The ancients have words that get to the point,
Urging people to grasp candles and make merry through the night:
"A quarter of an hour of a spring evening is worth a thousand
string of cash."
I say "Even with a thousand, you can't buy it back."

"Written on Day for Mankind (the 7th day of the first lunar month) in Jiajing reign renwu (1522). [Signed] Tang Yin of Wu prefecture composed poem and painting".

(Alfreda Murck, modified)

Affixed to left of the calligraphy are three artist's seals:
1. Nanjing jie yüan (rectangular, relief)
2. Chanxian (rectangular intaglio)
3. Tang Ziwei (square, relief)

The small seal below, [ ]-shi might also be Tang Yin's, but is not identified.

Marking: A square relief seal in the lower right corner reading "Shen Wu shending" may belong to a relative of Shen Guoqi, a 19th century collector.
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