Signature: Inscribed by the artist
Inscription: The following translation of the artist's colophon was done by Fong Chow (with the kind help of Yeh Cheng and Chang Cheng-tsu:
During the reign of Zhongning [Emperor Huizong, 1101–1125), Northern Song dynasty], on the third day of the third lunar month, the lake of Jin Ming [a marine training base near the capital, Gaifeng, in Henan Province] was opened [to the public for the dragon boat regatta]. Embroidered pennants [strung with cash given by the royal family as prizes] were put out. Royal personages, ranking officials and tens of thousands of commoners rejoiced in the event together, as recounted in Meng Hualuo [Reminiscences of the Old Capital, by Men Yüanlao].
In the third year of Zhida [A.D. 1310], on the great occasion of the Crown Prince's birthday, a scroll was respectfully presented to His Royal Highness bearing the following poem:
On the third day of the third lunar month,
In the lake of Jin Ming,
On the rippling waters skimmed the dragon boats.
The cheers of the crowds, the beating of the drums,
And the sound of the bugles, all rent the air like thunder.
Colorful flags fluttered gaily in the bright sun.
The pennant, now drenched by the splashy oars,
seemed trivial as a prize;
Yet with abandon the people from the State of Wu vied for it.
In this world, there are many pitiful creatures
struggling for favor or position,
Happy to gain an inch of ground and saddened at losing a foot.
But a universal celebration in which all men
rejoice together means much more;
Accordingly I painted this picture, a poem without words.
Simple is Your Highness's way of living,
Unmindful of lust or luxury; Only art and books
Gladden your heart and please your eyes.
At the time to toast your birthday,
May I wish "Long Live Your Highness", and may this painting serve
As the Book of Everlasting Golden Admonitions.
Her Royal Highness Princess Aunt had seen this painting more than a decade ago, and she now asked me to paint another for her. But as I have grown old, my vision is weakening. Although I try to do my best, I am still afraid it is not good enough to present to such an austere personage.
Wang Zhenpeng, Battalion Commander, in charge of the Imperial Guards for Rice Transportation, respectfully painted the scroll and carefully penned the calligraphy in the late spring of the third year of Zhiqi [A.D. 1323].
Marking: Collector's seals: Grand Elder Princess Sennge (ca. 1283–1331)