Image (each): 52 7/16 x 8 11/16 in. (133.2 x 22.1 cm)
Overall with knobs: 67 5/16 x 10 3/16 in. (171 x 25.9 cm)
The Lin Yutang Family Collection, Gift of Richard M. Lai, Jill Lai Miller, and Larry C. Lai, in memory of Taiyi Lin Lai, 2005
Not on view
In this work, Feng Kanghou transcribes a couplet from Hong Yingming's (fl. 1596) Thoughts on Vegetable Roots together with Hong's short commentary on the ideas expressed in his verse:
However rapidly water flows, it is always tranquil in itself. Though their petals fall from time to time, flowers remain restful at heart. If we could deal with daily affairs and people with this attitude, there would be no inner disturbances. How carefree our bodies and minds would be!
(trans. by Shi-yee Liu)
Water and flowers remain serene though they are constantly busy flowing or shedding. They embody an attitude that transcends the bustle of daily activities by fulfilling their respective roles in life without psychological resistance. Hong clearly saw in this imagery a key to maintaining peace of mind while living in a clamorous society.
Feng here freely mixes a surprising combination of the standard, clerical, and seal script characteristics. This unusual mix of script types demands a patient perusal of each character, thereby slowing down the reading of the text so that the viewer may fully savor the wisdom embedded in its mundane imagery and unadorned language.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (5 columns in mixed scripts)
If we could deal with daily affairs and people with this attitude, there would be no inner disturbances. How carefree our bodies and minds would be!
However rapidly water flows, it is always tranquil in itself. Though their petals fall from time to time, flowers remain restful at heart.
Written at the request of Mr. Li Ming [Richard Lai] for his correction. In the summer, the fifth month of the renzi year , having newly recovered from an eye illness, I wrote this, which was not too bad. Kanghou
黎明先生大雅屬, 即希正之。 壬子夏五月目疾新愈，書寫尚不大惡。康侯
Kanghou 康侯 Dashu Jiangjun zhi hou 大樹將軍之後
 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. 34, p. 103.