Signature: Signed on text of last leaf: "The 25th day of the 8th moon of the 9th year of the Dade era (September 14, 1305). Zhao Mengfu of Wuxing painted and inscribed". Followed by one seal.
Painting leaves not signed, but "Zhaoshi Ziang" is found on each calligraphy leaf.
Jiang Ruqi: 8 columns in running script (dated 1637); two seals
Cai Zhiding: one column in running script, undated; one seal
Wu Rongguang (1773–1843): 1 column in running script (dated 1816), two seals.
Lin Sijin: 3 columns in running script (dated 1940); 1 seal.
Xie Wuliang and others: 1 column in running script (dated 1940); no seals.
Xie Zhiliu (1910–1997) and Jiang Muhan: 1 column in running script (dated 1940); no seals.
Ye Gongchuo (1881–1968), 1 column in running script (dated 1940); one seal.
Wang Yuan: 9 columns in running script (dated 1940); two seals.
Ye Gongchuo (1881–1968), 20 columns in running script (dated 1940); two seals.
Zhang Daqian (1899–1983), 13 columns in running script (dated 1957); one seal.
Jin Hezhin (20th century): 1 column in seal and running scripts (undated): "Nine Songs" by Zhao Mengu of the Yuan dynasty, [a work of the] divine class; Jin Hezhin wrote this label strip while traveling by the Xiepu [i.e. Huangpu River, Shanghai]; one seal: Haopu changshou.
Yin Nianzeng: 2 columns in seal and regular scripts (undated):
Zhao [Mengfu] Wenmin's Nine Songs painting and calligraphy album; inscribed by Jiang Panchu [Ruqi] of the Ming [dynasty]; treasured in the collection of Mr. Xiao of Yushan [Jiangsu]; label strip written by Yin Nianzeng; one seal.
Zhang Fu: 3 columns in regular script (undated); one seal.
Li Qiuzhun: 2 columns in running script (dated 1939); one seal
Ye Gongchuo (1881–1968), 10 columns in running regular script (undated); one seal.
Inscription on the painting:
Zhang Daqian (1899–1983), 2 columns in running script (undated); no seals (on leaf 3).
Spurious artist's inscriptions, signature and seals; 80 columns in running script (dated 1305); 11 seals:
Portrait of Chu Yuan
Taiyi, the Eastern Emperor of Heaven
On this lucky day, good in both its signs,
Let us in reverence give pleasure to the Monarch on high.
I hold my long sword by its jade grasp;
My girdle-gems tinkle with a qiuqiang
From the jeweled mat with its jade weights
Why not now take the perfumed spray?
Meats I offer, flavored with basil, on strewn orchids laid;
I set out the cassia wine peppered drink.
Now the sticks are raised, the drums are struck,
To beats distanced and slow, the chanters gently sing,
Then to the ranks of reed organ and zither make loud reply.
The Spirit moves proudly in his splendid gear;
Sweetest scents with gust of fragrance fill the hall.
The five notes chime in thick array;
The Lord is pleased and happy; his heart is at rest.
The Lord of Clouds
I have washed in brew of orchid, bathed in sweet scents,
Many-colored are my garments; I am like a flower.
Now in long curves, the Spirit has come down
In a blaze of brightness unending.
Qian! He is coming to rest at the Abode of Life:
As a sun, as a moonbeam glows his light.
In dragon chariot and the vestment of a god,
Hither and thither a little while he moves.
The Spirit in great majesty comes down;
Now he soars up swiftly amid the clouds.
He looks down on the province of Ji and far beyond;
He traverses to the Four Seas; endless his flight.
Longing for that Lord, I heave a deep sigh;
My heart is greatly troubled; I am very sad.
The Princess of Xiang
The Princess does not come, she bides her time.
Qian! She is waiting for someone on that big island.
I will deck myself in all my handsome finery
And set out to find her, riding in my cassia boat.
May the Yuan and Xiang raise no waves;
May the waters of the Great River flow quietly!
I look towards that Princess, but she does not come;
Blowing her panpipes there, of whom is she thinking?
Driving her winged dragons, she has gone to the North;
I turn my boat and make for Dongting.
My awning is of fig-creeper, bound with basil.
My paddles of sweet flag, my banners are of orchid.
I gaze towards the furthest shores of Cenyang;
But athwart the Great River she lifts her godhead,
Lifts her godhead higher and ever higher;
Reluctant, her handmaids follow her; for my sake, heave great sighs.
And my tears flow aslant in an endless stream.
I long bitterly for my Lady and am in deep distress.
My oars of cassia wood, my steering plank of magnolia
Do not chip ice and pile up snow.
Can one pluck tree-creepers in the water?
Can one gather water lilies from the boughs of a great tree?
When hearts are not at one, the matchmaker wearies;
Favor that was but scant is lightly severed.
These rocky shallows are hard to pass;
Those flying dragons sweep her far away.
In our union was no faithfulness; only grief has lasted.
She did not keep her tryst; told me she was not free.
In the morning I gallop my horses through the lowlands by the River;
In the evening I stay my course at that northern shore.
The birds are settling on the rooftops;
The waters circle under the hall.
I drop my ivory thumb-ring into the River,
I cast down my girdle-stones on the shores of the Li;
On a fragrant island I pluck the galingale,
Hoping for a chance to give it to her waiting-maids.
Though I know that the time can never come again,
For a while I loiter, pacing to and fro.
The Lady of Xiang
God's child has come down to the northern shore,
But her eyes gaze far away; it makes me sad.
Nao, nao blows the autumn wind.
Makes waves on Dongting, brings down the leaves from the trees.
Over the white nut-grass my eyes roam;
I made a tryst with this fair one at curtain time.
Would a bird roost amid the duckweed?
What would a fishnet be doing at the top of a tree?
The Yuan has its angelica and Li, its orchids;
I long for this royal lady, but dare not speak.
All is blurred as I gaze into the distance;
I see only the waters swirling by.
Would an elk browse in the courtyard?
What would a dragon be doing on the bank of a stream?
In the morning I gallop my horses in the lowlands by the river,
At nightfall I cross to the western bank.
Someone says that my lovely one has sent for me;
I will mount my chariot and let him bring me to her.
Now I am building a bride-room under the water;
I am thatching it with a roof of lotus leaves,
Walls hung with sweet flag, courtyard paved with murex;
I strew scented pepper-plant to dress my hall.
Beams of cassia, rafters of tree-orchid;
Door lintels of magnolia, alcove of white angelica.
Creepers knotted to make a bed curtain,
Split basil plaited into a floor spread, weighted down with white jades.
The floor strewn with rock-orchid, that it may smell sweet.
Angelica laid on the lotus roofing and twined with bast of asarum.
I have brought together a hundred plants to fill the courtyard.
I have set up scents and perfumes at porch and gate,
But from the Nine Doubts in a troupe to fetch her,
Spirits are coming, many as the clouds.
I drop my sleeve into the River,
I cast down my thin dress on the shores of the Li;
On a flat island I pluck the galingale,
Meaning to send it to her that is far away.
Though I know that the time will not so quickly come again,
For a while I loiter, pacing to and fro.
The Senior Lord of Lives
The gates of Heaven are open wide;
Off I ride, borne on a dark cloud;
May the gusty winds by my vanguard,
May sharp showers sprinkle the dust;
The Lord wheels in his flight; he is coming down.
I will cross Gongs… and attend upon you.
But all over the Nine Provinces there are people in throngs;
Why think that his task is among us?
High he flies, peacefully winging;
On pure air borne aloft, he handles Yin and Yang.
I and the Lord, solemn and reverent,
On our way to God cross over the Nine Hills.
He trails his spirit garment, dangles his girdle gems.
One Yin for every Yang;
The crowd does not understand what we are doing.
I pluck the sparse-hemp's lovely flower,
Meaning to send it to him from whom I am separated.
Age creeps on apace; all will soon be over.
Not to draw nearer is to drift further apart.
He has driven his dragon chariot, loudly rumbling.
High up he gallops into Heaven.
The Junior Lord of Lives
The autumn orchid and the deer-fodder grow thick under the hall;
From green leaves and white branches,
Great gusts of scent assail me.
Among such people there are sure to be lovely young ones.
You have no need to be downcast and sad.
The autumn orchid is in its splendor; green its leaves, purple its stem.
The hall is full of lovely girls,
But suddenly it is me he eyes, and me alone.
When he came in he said nothing, when he went out he said no word.
Riding on the whirlwind he carried a banner of cloud.
There is no sadness greater than that of a life-parting;
No joy greater than that of making new friends.
In coat of lotus leaf, belt of basil, suddenly he came and as swiftly, went.
At nightfall he is to lodge in the precincts of God.
Lord, for whom are you waiting, on the fringe of the clouds?
I bathed with you in the Pool of Heaven,
I dried your hair for you in a sunny fold of the hill.
I look towards my fair on, but he does not come.
With the wind on my face, despairing, I chant aloud.
Chariot awning of peacock feathers, halcyon flags--
He mounts to the Nine heavens, wields the Broom star;
Lifts his long sword to succor young and old;
Yes, you alone are fit to deal out justice to the people.
The Lord of the East
There is a glow in the sky; soon he will be rising in the east.
Now on my balcony falls a ray from Fusang.
I touch my horses and silently drive.
The night grows pale, now it is broad daylight.
He harnesses his dragon-shaft, rides on his thunder wheels,
He carries banners of cloud that twist and trail.
But he heaves a great sigh, and when he is about to rise
He cannot make up his mind; he looks back, full of yearning.
"Qiang! Beauty and music are things to delight in"!
He that looks lingers and forgets to go on his way.
The zither strings are tightened; drum answers drum.
The bells are beaten till the bell-stand rocks.
Sound of flute, blowing of the reed organ;
A clever and beautiful spirit-guardian
Lightly fluttering on halcyon wings;
Verses changed to fit the dance,
Singers who keep their pitch, instruments in strict measure;
The coming of many spirits covers the sun.
Coat of blue cloud, skirt of white rainbow,
I gather my reins and my chariot sweeps aloft.
I take up my long arrow and shoot at the Heavenly Wolf,
Then draw toward me the Dipper and pour out for myself
A drink of cassia, and bow in hand, plunge into the abyss;
Am lost in murk and darkness as I start on my journey to the East.
The River Spirit
With you I wandered down the Nine Rivers;
A whirlwind rose and the waters barred us with their waves.
We rode in a water chariot with awning of lotus leaf,
Drawn by two dragons, with griffins to pull at the sides.
I climb Kunlun and look in all directions;
My heart rises all aflutter, I am agitated and distraught.
Dusk is coming but I am too sad to think of return.
Of the far shore only, are my thoughts; I lie awake and yearn.
In his fish-scale house, dragon-scale hall,
Portico of purple shell, in his red palace,
What is the spirit doing down in the water?
Riding a white turtle, followed by stripy fish
With you I wandered in the islands of the River.
The ice is on the move; soon the floods will be down.
You salute me with raised hands, then go towards the East.
I go with my lovely one as far as the Southern shore.
The waves surge on surge come to meet him,
Fishes shoal after shoal escort me on my homeward way.
The Mountain Spirit
It seems there is someone over there, in that fold of the hill,
Clad in creepers with a belt of mistletoe.
He is gazing at me, his lips parted in a smile;
"Have you taken a fancy to me? Do I please you with my lovely ways?"
Driving red leopards, followed by stripy civets,
Chariot of magnolia, banners of cassia,
Clad in stone-orchid with belt of asarum,
I go gathering sweet herbs to give to the one I love.
I live in a dark bamboo grove where I never see the sky;
The way was perilous and hard; that is why I am late for the tryst.
High on the top of the hill I stand all alone;
Below me the clouds sweep past in droves.
All is murk and gloom. Qiang! Darkness by day!
The east wind blows gust on gust, spreading magic rain.
Waiting for the Divine One I linger and forget to go back.
The year is drawing to its close; who will now beflower me?
I pluck the thrice-blossoming amid the hills,
Among a welter of rocks and vine creeper spreading between.
Wronged by my Lord, I am too sad to think of going back.
You love me, I know it; nothing can come between us.
He of the hills is fragrant with the scent of galingale,
He drinks from a spring amid the rocks,
He shelters under cypress and pine.
You love me, I know it despite all doubts that rise.
His chariot thunders, the air is dark with rain.
The monkeys twitter; again they cry all night.
The wind soughs and soughs, the trees rustle;
My love of my Lord has brought me only sorrow.
The War Dead
The 25th day of the 8th lunar month of the 9th year of Dade era [September 14, 1305] Zhao Mengfu of Wuxing painted and inscribed;
[seal] Zhaoshi Ziang
Marking: Collectors' seals:
Wu Rongguang (1773–1843), one seal
Zhang Shanzi (1882–1940), two seals
Yang Suzhun (Mrs. Zhang Daqian), five seals
One unidentified owner