During the Southern Song, artists and connoisseurs who wished to express their emotional responses to paintings frequently added poems to them. Empress Yang's poems appear on a number of paintings by such court artists as Ma Yuan (active ca. 1190–1225) and Ma Lin (active ca. 1180–after 1256); this quatrain must once have complemented a fan painting of flowers, but it reveals more about the state of mind of the empress than about the lost painting it accompanied:
My makeup worn and faded, only the scent lingers; Still I shall enjoy spring's beauty before my eyes. Once you said to me, how a year blooms quickly and as quickly dies! Might we now forsake worldly splendors for the land of wine?
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南宋 楊皇后 楷書薄薄殘妝七絕 團扇冊頁 絹本
Title:Quatrain on spring’s radiance
Artist:Empress Yang Meizi (Chinese, 1162–1232)
Period:Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)
Date:early 13th century
Medium:Round fan mounted as an album leaf; ink on silk
Dimensions:Image: 9 1/8 x 9 5/8 in. (23.2 x 24.4 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Inscription: Artist's inscription and signature (5 columns in standard script)
My makeup worn and faded, only the scent lingers; Still I shall enjoy spring's radiance before my eyes. Once you said to me, How a year blooms quickly and as quickly dies! May we now forsake worldly splendors for the land of wine? Yang Meizi
薄薄殘粧淡淡香， 眼前猶得玩春光。 公言一歲輕榮悴， 肯厭繁華惜醉鄉。 楊妹子
Pan Zhengwei 潘正煒 (1791–1850) Jitong jianding zhencang 季彤鋻定珍藏
Pan Yanling 潘延齡 (19th c.) Pan Yanling yin 潘延齡印
Yan Gai 嚴荄 (1824–1893) Yan Gai zhi yin 嚴荄之印
Xiang Hanping 香翰屏 (1890–1978) Ceng cang Xiang shi Mengshi Lu 曾藏香氏夢詩廬
Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford, Jr., 1913–1988) Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 Hanguang Ge 漢光閣
 Translation from Wen C. Fong, Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy 8th–14th Century, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992, p. 237.
John M. Crawford Jr. American, New York (by 1971–d. 1988; bequeathed to MMA)
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," April 2, 1996–July 7, 1996.
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," August 3, 1996–November 10, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23–August 16, 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection," September 15, 2000–January 7, 2001.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," January 28–August 13, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing," September 2, 2006–January 21, 2007.
Shanghai Museum. "Masterpieces of Chinese Tang, Song and Yuan Paintings from America," November 3, 2012–January 3, 2013.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of the Chinese Album," September 6, 2014–March 29, 2015.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Rotation Two)," May 7–October 11, 2016.
Shih Shou-ch'ien, Maxwell K. Hearn, and Alfreda Murck. The John M. Crawford, Jr., Collection of Chinese Calligraphy and Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Checklist. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1984, p. 16, cat. no. 15.
Fong, Wen C. Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992, p. 235, pl. 36.
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