Quatrain on a Spring Garden

Emperor Lizong Chinese

Song dynasty (960–1279)

Not on view

This verse, written during Lizong's maturity in a charming cursive script for the "noble consort" who inspired it, makes clear that life was not without its pleasures for the aging emperor:

Last year I saw a branch scented with a red fragrance;
Faintly, I imagined red corollas with little makeup.
Today, in the palace garden, such colors abound.
Perhaps, without knowing it, I prayed to the god of spring.

(Wen C. Fong, trans., in Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century [New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art,1992], p. 242)

Quatrain on a Spring Garden, Emperor Lizong (Chinese, 1205–64, r. 1224–64), Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink on silk, China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.