Inscription: Artist’s inscriptions and signature
Leaf B (8 columns in standard script)
Portrait of Qu Yuan
When Qu Yuan was banished, he wandered, sometimes along the river’s banks, sometimes along with the marsh’s edge, singing as he went. His expression was dejected and his features emaciated. A fisherman caught sight of him.
‘Are not you the Lord of the Three Wards?’ said the fisherman. ‘What has brought you to this pass?’
‘Because all the world is muddy and I alone am clear,’ said Qu Yuan, ‘and because all men are drunk and I alone am sober, I have been sent into exile.’
‘The Wise Man is not chained to material circumstances,’ said the fisherman, ‘but can move as the world moves. If all the world is muddy, why not help them to stir up the mud and beat up the waves? And if all men are drunk, why not sup their dregs and swill their lees? Why get yourself exiled because of your deep thoughts and your fine aspirations?’
Qu Yuan replied, ‘I have heard it said: “He who has just washed his hair should brush his hat; and he who has just bathed should shake his clothes.” How can I submit my spotless purity to the dirt of others? I would rather cast myself into the waters of the river and be buried in the bowels of fishes than hide my shining light in the dark and dust of the world.’
The fisherman, with a faint smile, struck his paddle in the water and made off. And as he went he sang:
‘When the Cang-lang’s waters are clear,
I can wash my hat-strings in them;
When the Cang-lang’s waters are muddy,
I can wash my feet in them.’
With that he was gone, and did not speak again.
Leaf C (5 columns in standard script)
On a lucky day with an auspicious name
Reverently we come to delight the Lord on High.
We grasp the long sword’s haft of jade,
And our girdle pendants clash and chime.
From the god’s jewelled mat with treasures laden
Take up the fragrant flower-offerings,
The meats cooked in melilotus, served on orchid mats,
And libations of cinnamon wine and pepper sauces!
Flourish the drumsticks, beat the drums!
The singing begins softly to a slow, solemn measure:
Then, as pipes and zithers join in, the sound grows shriller.
Now the priestesses come, splendid in their gorgeous apparel,
And the hall is filled with a penetrating fragrance.
The five notes mingle in a rich harmony;
And the god is merry and takes his pleasure.
To the right is ‘The Great Unity, God of the Eastern Sky’
Leaf D (5 columns in standard script)
We have bathed in orchid water and washed our hair with perfumes,
And dressed ourselves like flowers in embroidered clothing.
The god has halted, swaying, above us,
Shining with a persistent radiance.
He is going to rest in the House of Life.
His brightness is like that of the sun and moon.
In his dragon chariot, dressed in imperial splendour,
Now he flies off to wander round the sky.
The god had just descended in bright majesty,
When off in a whirl he soared again, far into the clouds.
He looks down on Ji-zhou and the lands beyond it;
There is no place in the world that he does not pass over.
Thinking of that lord makes me sigh
And afflicts my heart with a grievous longing.
To the right is ‘The Lord within the Clouds’
Leaf E (9 columns in standard script)
The goddess comes not, she holds back shyly.
Who keeps her delaying within the island,
Lady of the lovely eyes and the winning smile?
Skimming the water in my cassia boat,
I bid the Yuan and Xiang still their waves
And the Great River make its stream flow softly.
I look for the goddess, but she does not come yet.
Of whom does she think as she plays her reed-pipes?
North I go, drawn by my flying dragon,
Steering my course to the Dong-ting lake:
My sail is of fig-leaves, melilotus my rigging,
An iris my flag-pole, my banner of orchids.
Gazing at the distant Cen-yang mooring,
I waft my magic across the Great River.
I waft my magic, but it does not reach her.
The lady is sad, and sighs for me;
And my tears run down over cheek and chin:
I am choked with longing for my lady.
My cassia oars and orchid sweep
Chip all in vain at ice and snow.
I am gathering wild figs in the water!
I am looking for lotuses in the tree-tops!
The wooing is useless if hearts are divided;
The love that is not deep is quickly broken.
The stream runs fast through the stony shallows,
And my flying dragon wings swiftly above it.
The pain is more lasting if loving is faithless:
She broke her tryst; she told me she had not time.
In the morning I race by the bank of the river;
At evening I halt at this north island.
The birds are roosting on the roof-top;
The water laps at the foot of the hall.
I throw my thumb-ring into the river.
I leave my girdle-gem in the bay of the Li.
Pollia I‘ve plucked in the scent-laden islet
To give to the lady in the depths below.
Time once gone cannot be recovered:
I wish I could play here a little longer.
To the right is ‘The Goddess of the Xiang’
Leaf F (9 columns in standard script)
The Child of God, descending the northern bank,
Turns on me her eyes that are dark with longing.
Gently the wind of autumn whispers;
On the waves of the Dong-ting lake the leaves are falling.
Over the white sedge I gaze out wildly;
For a tryst is made to meet my love this evening.
But why should the birds gather in the duckweed?
And what ate the nets doing in the tree-tops?
The Yuan has its angelicas, the Li has its orchids:
And I think of my lady, but dare not tell it,
As with trembling heart I gaze on the distance
Over the swiftly moving waters.
What are the deer doing in the courtyard?
Or the water-dragons outside the waters?
In the morning I drive my steeds by the river;
In the evening I cross to the western shore.
I can hear my beloved calling to me:
I will ride aloft and race beside her.
I will build her a horse within the water
Roofed all over with lotus leaves;
With walls of iris, of purple shells the chamber;
Perfumed pepper shall make the hall.
With beams of cassia, orchid rafters,
Lily-tree lintel, a bower of peonies,
With woven fig-leaves for the hangings
And melilotus to make a screen;
Weights of white jade to hold the mats with,
Stone-orchids strewn to make the floor sweet:
A room of lotus thatched with the white flag
Shall all be bound up with stalks of asarum.
A thousand sweet flowers shall fill the courtyard,
And rarest perfumes shall fill the gates.
In host from their home on Doubting Mountain
Like clouds in number the spirits come thronging.
I’ll throw my thumb-ring into the river,
Leave my girdle-gem in the bay of the Li.
Sweet pollia I’ve plucked in the little islet
To send to my far-away Beloved.
Oh, rarely, rarely the time is given!
I wish I could play here a little longer.
To the right is ‘The Lady of the Xiang’
Leaf G (7 columns in standard script)
Open wide the door of heaven!
On a black cloud I ride in splendour,
Bidding the whirlwind drive before me,
Causing the rainstorm to lay the dust.
In sweeping circles my lord is descending:
‘Let me follow you over the Kong-sang mountain!
See, the teeming peoples of the Nine Lands:
The span of their lives is in your hand!’
Flying aloft, he soars serenely,
Riding the pure vapour, guiding yin and yang.
Speedily, lord, I will go with you,
Conducting High God to the height of heaven.
My cloud-coat hangs in billowing folds;
My jade girdle-pendants dangle low:
A yin and a yang, a yin and a yang:
None of the common folk know what I am doing.
I have plucked the glistening flower of the Holy Hemp
To give to one who lives far away.
Old age already has crept upon me:
I am no longer near him, fast growing a stranger.
He drives his dragon chariot with thunder of wheels;
High up he rides, careering heavenwards.
But I stand where I am, twisting a spray of cassia:
The longing for him pains my heart.
It pains my heart, but what can I do?
If we only could stay as we were, unchanging!
But all man’s life is fated;
Its meeting and partings not his to arrange.
To the right is ‘The Greater Master of Fate’
靈衣兮被被， 玉佩兮離陸。 [末二字加點表示應易位]
Leaf H (7 columns in standard script)
The autumn orchid and the deer-parsley
Grow in a carpet below the hall;
The leaves of green and the pure white flowers
Assail me with their wafted fragrance.
The autumn orchids bloom luxuriant,
With leaves of green and purple stems.
All the hall is filled with lovely women,
But his eyes swiftly sought me out from the rest.
Without a word he came in to me, without a word he left me:
He rode off on the whirlwind with cloud-banners flying.
No sorrow is greater than the parting of the living;
No happiness is greater than making new friendships.
Wearing a lotus coat with melilotus girdle,
Quickly he came and as quickly departed.
At night he will lodge in the High God’s precincts.
‘Whom are you waiting for at the cloud’s edge?’
I will wash my hair with you in the Pool of Heaven;
You shall dry your hair on the Bank of Sunlight.
I watch for the Fair One, but he does not come.
Wildly I shout my song into the wind.
With peacock canopy and kingfisher banner,
He mounts the ninefold heaven and grasps the Broom Star;
He brandishes his long sword, protecting young and old:
‘You only, Fragrant One, are worthy to be judge over men.’
To the right is ‘The Lesser Master of Fate’
Leaf I (7 columns in standard script)
With a faint flush I start to come out of the east,
Shining down on my threshold, Fu-sang.
As I urge my horses slowly forwards,
The night sky brightens, and day has come.
I ride a dragon car and chariot on the thunder,
With cloud-banners fluttering upon the wind.
I heave a long sigh as I start the ascent,
Reluctant to leave, and looking back longingly;
For the beauty and the music are so enchanting,
The beholder, delighted, forgets that he must go.
Tighten the zither’s strings and smite them in unison!
Strike the bells until the bell-stand rocks!
Let the flutes sound! Blow the pan-pipes!
See the priestesses, how skilled and lovely,
Whirling and dipping like birds in flight,
Unfolding the words in time to the dancing,
Pitch and beat all in perfect accord!
The spirits, descending, darken the sun.
In my cloud-coat and my skirt of the rainbow,
Grasping my bow I soar high up in the sky.
I aim my long arrow and shoot the Wolf of Heaven;
I seize the Dipper to ladle cinnamon wine.
Then holding my reins, I plunge down to my setting,
On my gloomy night journey back to the east.
To the right is ‘The Lord of the East’
Leaf J (6 columns in standard script)
I wander with you by the Nine Mouths of the river
When the storm wind rises and lashes up the waves.
I ride a water chariot with a canopy of lotus;
Two dragons draw it, between two water-serpents.
I climb the Kun-lun mountain and look over the four quarters,
And my heart leaps up in me, beating wildly.
Though the day will soon end, I forget to go in my pleasure:
Longingly I look back to that distant shore.
Of fish-scales his palace is, with a dragon-scale hall;
Purple cowrie gate-towers; rooms of pearl.
And what does the god do, down there in the water?
Riding a white turtle, he chases the spotted fishes.
Let me play with you among the river’s islets,
While the swollen waters come rushing on their way!
Eastward you journey, with hands stately folded,
Bearing your fair bride to the southern harbour.
The waves come racing up to meet me,
And shoals of fishes are my bridal train.
To the right is ‘The River Earl’
Leaf K (9 columns in standard script)
There seems to be someone in the fold of the mountain
In a coat of fig-leaves with a rabbit-floss girdle,
With eyes that hold laughter and a smile of pearly brightness:
‘Lady, your allurements show that you desire me.’
Driving tawny leopards, leading the striped lynxes;
A car of lily-magnolia with banner of woven cassia;
Her cloak of stone-orchids, her belt of asarum:
She gathers sweet scents to give to one she loves.
‘I am in the dense bamboo grove, which never sees the sunlight,
So steep and hard the way was, therefore I am late.’
Solitary she stands, upon the mountain’s summit:
The clouds’ dense masses begin below her.
From a place of gloomy shadow, dark even in the daytime,
When the east wind blows up, the goddess sends down her showers.
Dallying with the Fair One, I forget about returning.
What flowers can I deck myself with, so late in the year?
I shall pluck the thrice-flowering herb among the mountains,
Where the arrowroot spreads creeping over the piled-up boulders.
Sorrowing for my lady, I forget that I must go.
My lady thinks of me, but she has no time to come.
The lady of the mountains is fragrant with pollia;
She drinks from the rocky spring and shelters beneath the pine trees.
My lady thinks of me, but she holds back, uncertain.
The thunder rumbles; rain darkens the sky:
The monkeys chatter; apes scream in the night:
The wind soughs sadly and the trees rustle.
I think of my lady and stand alone in sadness.
To the right is ‘The Mountain Spirit’
Leaf L (7 columns in standard script)
Grasping our great shields and wearing our hide armour,
Wheel-hub to wheel-hub locked, we battle hand to hand.
Our banners darken the sky; the enemy teem like clouds:
Through the hail of arrows the warriors press forward.
They dash on our lines; they trample our ranks down.
They left horse has fallen, the right one is wounded.
The wheels are embedded, the foursome entangled:
Seize the jade drumstick and beat the sounding drum!
The time is against us: the gods are angry.
Now all lie dead, left on the field of battle.
They went out never more to return:
Far, far away they lie, on the level plain,
Their long swards at their belts, clasping their Qin bows,
Head from body sundered: but their hearts could not be vanquished.
Both truly brave and also truly noble;
Strong to the last, they could not be dishonoured.
Their bodies may have died, but their souls are living:
Heroes among the shades their valiant souls will be.
To the right is ‘Hymn to the Fallen’
Zhao shi Zi’ang 趙氏子昂 [Leaf B-L]
Jin Heqin 堇寉琴 (Unidentified), 1 column in seal script and 2 columns in running-standard script, undated; 1 seal (mounted on brocade cover):
堇寉琴書贉，歇浦旅次。 [印] 寉琴長壽
Old title strips [on Leaf A]
1. Yi Nianceng 伊念曾 (1790–1861), 1 column in clerical script and 2 columns in standard script, undated; 1 seal:
2. Zhang Fu 張芾 (1814–1862), 3 columns in standard script, undated; 1 seal:
3. Li Qiujun 李秋君 (1898–1973), 2 columns in running-standard script, dated 1939-1940; 1 seal:
4. Ye Gongchuo 葉恭綽 (1881–1968), 2 columns in running-standard script, undated; 1 seal:
1. Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983), 2 columns in semi-cursive script, undated [Leaf D]:
2. Jiang Ruqi 蔣如奇 (d. 1643), 8 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1637; 2 seals [Leaf M]:
3. Cai Zhiding 蔡之定 (1745–1834), 1 column in semi-cursive script, undated; 1 seal [Leaf N]:
4. Wu Rongguang 吳榮光 (1773–1843), 1 column in standard script, dated 1816; 2 seals [Leaf N]:
5. Lin Sijin 林思進 (1872–1953), 3 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1940; 1 seal [Leaf N]:
6. Xie Wuliang 謝無量 (1884–1964) and Luo Xicheng 羅希成 (20th c.), 1 column in semi-cursive script, dated 1940 [Leaf N]:
7. Zhang Muhan 張目寒 (1902–1980) and Xie Zhiliu 謝稚柳 (1910-1997), 1 column in semi-cursive script, dated 1940 [Leaf N]:
8. Ye Gongchuo 葉恭綽 (1880–1968), 1 column in standard script, dated 1940; 1 seal [Leaf N]:
9. Wang Yuan 王薳 (1884–1944), 9 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1939; 1 seal [Leaf N]:
10. Ye Gongchuo 葉恭綽 (1880–1968), 20 columns in standard script, dated 1940; 1 seal [Leaf O]:
昔人謂畫神仙鬼怪易，畫人物難，以人物須寫真，而神仙鬼怪可以想像模擬也。其實神仙鬼怪亦各有其精神意度，非可以凴空臆造。蓋神仙鬼怪在繪畫時，仍須具其人格，且為執筆者思想意識之表現。故昔人品第畫手，恆以仙釋等別為一類，非凡能貌人物者，皆工于神仙鬼怪也。昔唐二畫師分繪西岳寺壁，其繪東壁者睹西壁之半，遂罷棄弗為，其言曰：“吾之百官，其氣象僅及彼之騶從吏卒；吾之嶽神，其氣象僅及彼之百官，彼之嶽神，其氣象乃吾意中所無也。”足徵此類畫之高下，全在精神意度之不同。鷗波此冊淳厚清逸，具有唐型，脫盡院畫窠臼，其卓絕処，尤在氣象之莊嚴端麗，具天人相，繪鬼神至此，其氣脈悉與人物相通，非石恪、龔開輩之力求詭異、離于言象者比也。吾囯圖畫導源于繪記故事，故最早即有人物畫，漢以前授受師承無可攷，其見于紀載者，漢、魏、六朝之作，今亦罕見，傳世名作當以閻立本《帝王圖》稱最。顧愷之《女史箴》實非真跡。今試以閻作上溯六朝，以迄漢、魏，其間技術之嬗變，粲然可指，其用筆、設色獨到之處，尤足代表東方文化與藝術。自時厥后，由唐迄清，作家代不乏人，但能出閻、吳門戶者極稀，僅梁楷、石恪、龔開之屬，自成一格。明之唐、仇已成后勁。陳章侯知其故，乃遠追漢、魏、六朝石刻，力求古拙，特闢徑塗，同時曾波臣，濡染歐風，亦別出手眼，可稱二難。然三百年來，能繼軌陳、曾者，寥 寥三數，名家僅拾元、明餘唾，號傳龍眠、鷗波統緒而已。降至曉樓、小某之倫，實鄰自檜。故人物畫之在今日，已達窮變通久之期，第無人克肩此任。大千收藏既富，功力尤深，近方肆力于人物，不知睹此而深有觸發否？意開徑獨行，當非異人任也。用為贅言如此。中華民國二十九年一月，大千擕此冊過香港出示，因題。番禺葉恭綽 [印]：融齋
11. Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983), 13 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1958; 1 seal [Leaf P]:
有明蔣盤初以書名，於其鑑賞亦為董思翁所甚推，稱所見松雪楷跡以《九歌》、《畫贊》二者為最。予既得《九歌書畫冊》，其後十五年，門人馮璧池乃以《畫贊》見貽。予生盤初三百年後，廼擁有此[其字 點去]雙璧，其欣幸為何如耶！馮若飛嘗贈予楹帖曰：“貧無立錐，富可敵國。”一時以爲嘉話，予亦以自侈矣。頃者予就醫東京，行篋中有銘心之品數事，朋輩爭相乞請以《九歌》冊子付印，用嚮愛好趙書者，因并影《畫贊》附之。書家以臨撫見功力，以自運見性情，學趙書者觀此一卷一冊，可以上溯源流，永為楷則矣。至其畫筆高妙，上追吳生，平揖伯時，奴視後來，則又不待予之贅述也。丁酉嵗除夕，大千居士時方病目，書不成字。 [印]：張大千長年大吉又曰利
Wu Rongguang 吳榮光 (1773–1843)
伯榮審定 [Leaf L, M]
吳榮光印 [Leaf M]
Zhang Shanzi 張善子 (1882–1940)
善子審定 [Leaf H]
善子心賞 [Leaf K]
張氏季子 [Leaf E]
Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983)
大千供養 [Leaf B]
遲秋簃 [Leaf B]
大風堂長物 [Leaf B, D, F]
不負古人告後人 [Leaf C]
別時容易 [Leaf E, F]
南北東西只有相隨無別離 [Leaf E, L]
藏之大千 [Leaf H]
張爰之印 [Leaf I]
大千 [Leaf I]
大風堂 [square, relief, Leaf J]
大風堂 [rectangle, intaglio, Leaf K]
藏之大千 [Leaf K]
大千之寳 [Leaf L]
張爰 [Leaf M]
大千居士 [Leaf M]
大風堂珍玩 [Leaf M]
蜀人 [Leaf M]
大千游目 [Leaf M]
至寶是寳 [Leaf O]
Yang Wanjun 楊宛君 (1917–1986)
宛君侍讀 [Leaf F, L]
楊妹子 [Leaf F]
素君 [Leaf E]
黃黃竹印 [Leaf E]
Illegible: 2 [on Leaf N, P]
 Translations of “The Fisherman” on Leaf B and The Nine Songs on Leaf C-L from David Hawkes, trans. and annotated, The Songs of the South: An Ancient Chinese Anthology of Poems by Qu Yuan and Other Poets (Penguin Books, 1985), pp. 206-207, 95-122.