Artist's seal: Copy by You Ming (square, red characters)
Inscription: Wang Shi's inscription on the mounting, which explains the circumstances surrounding this work:
The original of this painting was done by Mao Chaoming (1611–1693) in the family collection of Sheng Jijiu (probably Sheng Xuanhuai, 1849–1916). Ouhu [Jin Cheng] borrowed it and asked You Difan to make a copy, allowing his colleagues at the Hushe [Artist's Association] to write the various inscriptions. As soon as I saw [the copy You did for Ouhu] I liked it so much that I asked Difan to make another copy for me. I asked Xu Shixue to copy all the inscriptions. You is a good copyist. The brushstroke and color are exactly the same as the original, not just superficially the same.
In the winter 1921, Fuan Jushi Wang Shi inscribed this at the Miyou Studio, Peking.
First inscription on the painting:
A copy by Xu Zonghao of the inscription by Mao Chaoming [Mao Xiang] on the original painting; poem, four lines, seven-character meter:
When Pingzi signs, Duizhi reminisces and they chant a poem. I am not skillful at poetry so instead I have done a painting as utterly sad as the cry of crane and the gibbon, or the mole cricket grieving with the moon. It is not the same as Pingshan. The image is here. All gentlemen should sympathize with it.
Second inscription on the painting: written by Yinggong [Luo Dunrong, d. 1924] and copied here by Xu Zonghao; poem, four lines, seven-character meter:
Yingmei yiyou [Mao Xiang's reminiscences about Dong Xiaowan] is so sad and bitter. Who can better depict her in her illness? War-torn Yangzhou is unspeakable. Not only Mao Chaoming is heartbroken.
Portrait of Dong Xiaowan in her sickbed. Yinggong.
Third inscription on the painting: written by Chong Duoluo and copied here by Xu Zonghao; two poems, each four lines in seven-character meter:
One never knows if one will become a Buddha or Heaven.
Obviously the image on the sickbed is disheveled.
Meicun is getting old; the image seems as though a dream.
It is futile to dwell on loneliness; it's better to read Buddhist poems.
The mist and moon on the Qinghuai River have vanished.
The tender charm can still be seen in this painting.
There are so many romantic situations in this world—
A failed hero and a beauty who has sickened.
The eleventh month of 1920, Danan jushi, Cheng Duoluo at Peking.
Fourth inscription on the painting: written by Lingfo, copied here by Xu Zonghao; three poems, each with four lines in seven-character meter:
Smoke from medicinal incense curls up in a long stream
from the small ding.
Spring will not come again.
In an instant, beauty, like a dynasty can rise or fall.
The picture preserves an image for later generations.
This disastrous event alludes to a palace affair.
Memory of you is distilled to a commentary on the right and wrong.
The waters by the side of the Shezhi City whisper.
While it is true you both crossed together, you did not return together.
A successful career is high praised forever.
A big name shines in art circles.
How many orchids just grow in the jungle,
Less cherished than fall petals.
Dedicated to Fuan [Wang Shi], copied by Shixue jushi.
Additional inscriptions written by Hushe artists on the copy You made for Jin Cheng, copied here by Xu Zonghao:
The final inscription on the left mounting strip is a poem written by Chen Hongge, copied by Shixui. The poem is a ci of six lines, seven characters each:
[Mao Xiang's] Shuihui Garden has become so desolate that it cannot even inspire a dream. The cry of the gibbon and crane is bitter and sad.
In the West Bamboo Grove, talk of war is inappropriate.
She who sits on her sickbed looks like a leaf in late autumn.
Singing insects in the empty garden convey the mood of this painting.
"Yingmei's Reminiscences" are truly tragic.
Written to the tune of "Wanxi sha"
Marking: Collectors' seals: Robert Hatfield Ellsworth
Calligraphers' seals: 1. Shixue (square, red characters)
2. Shixue (square, white characters)
3. Shuyuan (square, red characters)
4. Wang Shi (rectangular red characters)