Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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近代 草書陸游杜甫詩三首 卷
Three Poems by Lu You and Du Fu in Cursive Script

Calligrapher:
Yu Youren (Chinese, 1879–1964)
Period:
Republic period
Date:
datable to 1959
Culture:
China
Medium:
Handscroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image (1): 10 1/4 x 27 1/16 in. (26 x 68.7 cm) Image (2): 10 1/4 x 26 3/16 in. (26 x 66.5 cm)
Classification:
Calligraphy
Credit Line:
The Lin Yutang Family Collection, Gift of Richard M. Lai, Jill Lai Miller, and Larry C. Lai, in memory of Taiyi Lin Lai, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.509.7
Not on view
This handscroll consists of a pair of calligraphies. The one on the right, a transcription of a poem by Lu You (1125–1210), is dedicated to Li Ming (Richard Lai). The one on the left, written for Lin Taiyi, transcribes two poems by Du Fu (712–770): the seventh poem from "Eight Poems on Autumn Moods" and "Thinking of Li Bai on a Spring Day." Yu Youren was a distinguished calligrapher. Besides cultivating a powerful personal style, he spent decades attempting to standardize the cursive script, which had become increasingly eccentric and difficult to read or learn. Maintaining that the future of a modern nation relies on whether its writing system is easy to use, he and his colleagues in 1936 published the standard cursive forms of the thousand most frequently used characters. They urged practitioners to shun ligatures between adjacent characters and to avoid using varied forms for the same character. The first of three poems reads:

I remember visiting the ponds and pavilions at Xiuchuan [in Yiwu, Zhejiang province].
How melancholy I felt standing by the balustrade in the setting sun!
This old man has traveled ten thousand miles;
The light mist, as before, sends off his lone boat.
Yearning for home, I have missed perch stew for too long;
Spring colors have just returned to the isles of fragrant herbs.
I'll buy a straw cape to fish in the rain;
To whom should I decline in advance [to catch] the seagulls?
Lu Fangweng [Lu You, 1125–1210], "On the Xiuchuan Station"

(trans. by Shi-yee Liu)
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (27 columns in cursive script)[1]

To Mr. Fangbai (Richard Lai):

I remember visiting the ponds and pavilions at Xiuchuan [in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province].
How melancholy I felt standing by the balustrade in the setting sun!
This old man has traveled ten thousand miles;
The light mist, as before, sends off his lone boat.
Yearning for home, I have missed perch stew for too long;
Spring colors have just returned to the isles of fragrant herbs.
I’ll buy a straw cape to fish in the rain;
To whom should I decline in advance [to catch] the seagulls?[2]

Lu Fangweng [Lu You, 1125–1210], “On the Xiuchuan Station”
Yu Youren

For Madame Taiyi’s correction:

The waters of Kunming Pool, a remnant from the days of the Han,
The banners and pennons of Emperor Wu [r. 141–87 B.C.] here before my eyes.
Silk of the loom of the Weaving Girl vague in moon of night,
Scales and fins of the stone whale stir in the autumn wind.
The waves toss a gumi seed, black in sinking cloud,
And dew chills the lotus pod, red of falling powder.
Barrier passes stretch to the heavens, a road for only the birds;
Lakes and rivers fill the earth, one aging fisherman.[3]

[Li] Bai’s poetry has no match.
Untrammeled, he never cares to conform.
Fresh as Commander Yu [Yu Xin, 513–581];
Elegant and free as Adjutant Bao [Bao Zhao, 412?–466].
On the north of the Wei River [in Shaanxi Province] grow spring trees;
Over the lower Yangzi hover the twilight clouds.
When shall we have a cup of wine
And once again discuss literature together?

Two poems by Du Fu [712–770]
Yu Youren

方白先生
繡川池閣記曾游,落日欄边特地愁。
白首即今行萬里,澹烟依舊送孤舟。
歸心久負鱸魚鱠,春色初回杜若洲。
會買一蓑來釣雨,憑誰先為謝沙鷗。
陸放翁題繡川驛
于右任

太乙女士正
昆明池水漢時功,武帝旌旗在眼中。
織女機絲虛夜月,石鯨鱗甲動秋風。
波漂菰米沉雲黑,露冷蓮房墜粉紅。
關塞極天唯鳥道,江湖滿地一漁翁。

白也詩無敵,飄然思不羣。清新庾開府,俊逸鮑參軍。
渭北春天樹,江東日暮雲。何時一尊酒,重與細論文。
杜詩二首
于右任

Artist’s seal

Youren 右任


[1] Documentation from Shi-yee Liu, Straddling East and West: Lin Yutang, A Modern Literatus: The Lin Yutang Family Collection of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, no. 23, pp. 80-81.

[2] The line refers to a story in Liezi. A fisherman likes seagulls. Hundreds of seagulls follow him when he goes fishing on the sea. His father asks him to catch one for a pet. The next day the seagulls fly around him, but will not land on his boat. The story cautions against scheming for personal gain in favor of living in harmony with nature.

[3] Translated by Stephen Owen, The Great Age of Chinese Poetry: The High T’ang (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), p. 214.
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