Goddess of the River Xiang
Fu Baoshi Chinese
Not on view
The youthful Fu Baoshi, fiercely idealistic and proud, often created images of unrecognized virtue, a theme that found its earliest expression in the poetry of Qu Yuan (343-278 B.C.), a loyal minister of the Chu kingdom who drowned himself in a tributary of the Xiang River in response to the false slander of his enemies.
Here, Fu was inspired by verses from a cycle of poems entitled the Nine Songs that is traditionally attributed to Qu Yuan. The Xiang River, a major tributary of the Yangzi that ran through the state of Chu, was known to harbor a goddess in its depths. She surfaced and enchanted the poet, who swore to make her his bride. The moment of enchantment depicted by Fu is described by the poet::
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 Dongting Lake the leaves are falling.
(David Hawkes, trans., Ch'u Tz'u: The Songs of the South [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959], p. 38)