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明 佚名 蘇蕙璇璣圖 卷
Lady Su Hui and Her Verse Puzzle

Artist:
In the style of Qiu Ying (Chinese, ca. 1495–1552)
Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
16th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 10 1/16 in. x 10 ft. 2 3/4 in. (25.6 x 311.8 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1933
Accession Number:
33.167
Not on view
This scene appears in a later copy of a Tang-dynasty painting illustrating the story of a literary legend, Lady Su Hui, who was supposed to have lived in the late fourth century. The dating of the original painting is supported by the types of instruments depicted in it. Both the harp (konghou) and the pipa played with a plectrum disappeared after the Tang.

Front row, left to right: qin, pipa, pipa (played without plectrum), paiban

Back row, left to right: dizi, xiao, sheng, konghou
Inscription: Artist’s inscriptions and signatures (spurious)

Guan Daosheng 管道昇 (1262–1319)

1. 1 column in standard script, undated; 1 illegible seal:

Zhongji
仲姬

[〈囘文詩〉不錄]

2. 4 columns in standard script, dated 1278; 1 graphic seal:

戊寅嵗夏日,雨窗寥寂,撿得朱淑貞臨蘇若蘭璇璣圖,其内有三、四、五、七言詩,皆囘文。交首周流,旋轉相雜,借用立意幽遠,行文變幻,乃命女童取素隨式錄出,不失前人之奧妙,以便後人之展玩,幽棲居士 [朱淑貞] 序言有工于是圖者吾管氏仲姬也,並右為圖。

Attached calligraphic piece

1. Zhu Shuzhen? 朱淑貞 (active ca. 1131), 29 columns in standard script, undated:

[〈囘文詩〉不錄]

蘇若蘭織錦璇璣圖記
若蘭名蕙,姓蘇氏,陳留令道質季女也,年一十六嵗歸扶風竇滔。滔字連波,仕符堅為安南將軍,以若蘭才色之美,甚敬愛之。滔有寵姬趙陽臺,歌舞妙甚,滔悅之,置于別室。若蘭知而得之苦加捶楚,由是陽臺積恨,讒毀交至,滔大恚憤。時詔滔留鎮襄陽,若蘭不願偕行,竟挈陽臺至任。若蘭乃悔恨自傷,因織錦為回文,五彩相宣,瑩心耀目,左右流轉皆為文章,名曰 《璇璣圖》,亙古以來所未有也。乃命蒼頭直齎至襄陽,滔悅之,感其妙絕,遂送陽臺之關中,具輿從迎若蘭歸,會於漢南,恩好踰初。其著文字五千餘言,世久湮沒,是圖猶存。唐武則天皇帝嘗序圖首,今已魯魚莫可辯矣。予初侍家君宦遊浙西時,好拾清玩,凡琴書珍貨意可人者,雖重購無所惜也。一日,家君宴群倅衙,偶於壁間見是圖,以予渴好之故,堅於倅求之,償其值,得歸遺予,讀而解之,惜其粉墨脫蝕,絹面塵涴,僅識圖字,其序誌漫矣,若蘭小像尚可臨也。於是坐臥觀究其文,莫可貫通,因悟璇璣之理,試以經緯求之,文果流達,煥然無疑。蓋璇璣者,天盤也;經緯者,星辰所行之道也;中留一眼者,天心也。極心非不動,葢運轉不離一度之中,所謂居其所而斡旋之處當然也。中一方,太極垣也,乃疊字四言詩。其二方,紫微垣也,乃四言迴文。垣外四正乃五言囘文。四維乃四言迴文。其三方曰中央黃道,乃七言迴文。之外四正,乃交首詩,則不迴文也。四維乃三言迴文,通邊并四維皆七言迴文,可周流讀也。四正曰四方,其色青道、白道、赤道、黑道。彼時余備細錄解,藏之篋司,今已十一年矣。身既于歸,俗事多累,非復少時情況。偶因病起,檢故紙而得此,然皆螵槖零落,甚可惜也。復命侍兒碧梧取素絹臨之,雖疾首畏風,瘦腕且顫,不能自已,得非為好奇之所役耶?噫!以若蘭之巧,能作于前,非余之勞,莫解於後,何世異情同若此,抑而不知後之有功於是圖復何人也。庶見者勿以閨人不事内,專詫於文藝,焉足為美。若是則又非憐才之士也,請不敢辨,冀知予者似疑烏吁宜寳之。宋紹定三年二月十五日幽棲居士朱氏淑貞書。 [印]: 幽棲居士、朱淑貞印

2. Xie Fangde? 謝枋得 (1226–89), 3 columns in standard script, undated; 1 illegible seal:

蘇若蘭 《璇璣圖》 相傳為王都尉家故物,有唐武則天皇后序,圖首聞而不可見。今見朱淑貞倣書 《璇璣圖》,亦幸見此,決無甲乙也。叠山謝枋得題。

Colophons

1. Boyan? 伯顏 (died 1340), 5 columns in standard script, undated:

To the right is Ruolan’s [Sui Hui, active 2nd half 4th c.] verse puzzle, a unique masterwork from past to present. [Zhu] Shuzhen (active ca. 1131) was able to read it with meaningful interpretations. Zhongji [Guan Daosheng, 1262–1319] recorded them, following the changing rhymes. This shows the profound sophistication of the famous ladies from three different times. It should be treasured. Inscribed by Boyan in the Wancui Xuan Studio.[1]

右若蘭璇璣圖詩,為古今絕唱。淑貞遂能以意繹之,仲姬隨韻以變幻錄之,乃三代名姬機奧也。宜寳珍之。伯顏題于晚翠軒。

2. Tuotuo? 脫脫 (1314–1355), 18 columns in semi-cursive script, undated; 1 seal:

Youqi Jushi’s [Zhu Shuzhen] erudition covered the entire spectrum of the classics. Mindful of crafts as well, she sought out great works neglected by others. She listed her readings of the Verse Puzzle, making their meanings thoroughly clear to the viewers. Without penetrating insight, I surmise, she couldn’t have exuded the pure and harmonious spirit of the universe and enthralled the viewers in awe. Zhao Songxue [Zhao Mengfu, 1254-1322] was quite prolific in creating figure and landscape paintings and calligraphic pieces. Highly talented and respected, he was a scholar-official skilled in the fine arts. Even Su [Shi,] and Mi [Fu,] cannot surpass him. Lady Guan [Daosheng] was renowned at the time. I have often seen her brushed works, which are not inferior to the Duke of Wei’s [Zhao Mengfu]. Upon seeing this fantastic verse puzzle, I feel somewhat abashed. Its vigorous brushwork and well-structured composition has no equal among female artists’ works. The painting to the right is extraordinarily refined and wonderful. I do not think it was painted by Lady Guan alone. Without the collaboration of the Duke of Wei, how could she have created such a long scroll! Later connoisseurs may decide. Tuotuo[2]

幽棲居士博通諸子百家,罔不曉了,復留心技巧,搜精于前人所未及者。繹 《璇璣圖》 而列之,使覽者如燭照而數計自非具大見解,焉能個中發出乾坤清和之氣,使觀者頓生避席之思。然趙松雪人物、山水、書法不為不多,才高望重,具衣冠,而操弱翰,即蘇、米不能過也。而管夫人名盛一時,屢見其墨跡,不亞與魏公。今見此璇璣變幻,得令人汗顔,筆力遒勁,結構體度,女流之中概不能有所如者。右有是圖,精絕妙絕,思非管夫人一手能作,若非魏公叢繪,豈能為長幅耶!後有賞鋻者未必無定耳。脫脫 [印]: 脫脫

Collectors' seals

Unidentified:
如臯張氏收藏圖書記
藩印
臣薰之印
芋香山舘
蘭臯過目
樂齋鋻賞

[1] Translation from Department records.
[2] Translation from Department records.
George D. Pratt , New York and Glen Cove, NY (until 1933)
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