Signature: Artist's inscription and signature (9 columns in standard script)
Immortals have always delighted in pavilion-living,
Windows open on eight sides--eyebrows smiling.
Up above towers and halls well up,
Down below clouds and thunder are vaguely sensed.
Reclining on a dais, a glimpse of Japan,
Leaning on a balustrade, the sight of Manchuria.
While worldly affairs shift and change,
In their midst a lofty man is at ease.
Mr. Liu Nantan [Liu Lin , 1474-1561] retired from the government, and upon his return home, he planned to build a dwelling-so you will know his noble character. Although the building is not yet completed, in anticipation of it, I have composed a poem and sketched its concept. Another day he can hang it at his right hand to enrich that pavilion-living. Inscribed by Zhengming on the sixteenth day of the seventh [lunar] month in the autumn of the guimao year of the Jiajing reign era [August 16, 1543].
This translation, which benefited from the assistance of Shi-yee Liu, is after that of Ling-yün Shih Liu and Richard Edwards in Edwards et al. 1976, p. 150.
Wen Zhengming yin
Yulan Tang yin
Artist’s inscription and signature (9 columns in standard script)
Marking: Collectors' seals
Zhao Song (born 1464; jinshi degree, 1493)
Hongxi Zhao Song jiancang shuhua yin
The authenticity of this seal requires further research. Given the fact that the painting was a gift from his friend Wen Zhengming, it seems unlikely that Liu Lin would have parted with Living Aloft during his lifetime. However, the presence of a seal belonging to Zhao Song (born 1464; jinshi degree, 1493) requires us to believe that Liu gave up the painting almost immediately. Zhao's death date is unknown, but he would have already been nearly eighty in 1543 when Wen executed the painting. If Liu held onto the painting for ten years, Zhao would have had to have lived to the age of ninety to acquire it.
Tieling Yingqi pingsheng zhenshang