Couplet on Water and Flowers

Feng Kanghou Chinese

Not on view

In this work, Feng Kanghou transcribes a couplet from Hong Yingming's (fl. 1596) Thoughts on Vegetable Roots together with Hong's short commentary on the ideas expressed in his verse:

However rapidly water flows, it is always tranquil in itself.
Though their petals fall from time to time, flowers remain restful at heart.
If we could deal with daily affairs and people with this attitude, there would be no inner disturbances.
How carefree our bodies and minds would be!

(trans. by Shi-yee Liu)

Water and flowers remain serene though they are constantly busy flowing or shedding. They embody an attitude that transcends the bustle of daily activities by fulfilling their respective roles in life without psychological resistance. Hong clearly saw in this imagery
a key to maintaining peace of mind while living in a clamorous society.

Feng here freely mixes a surprising combination of the standard, clerical, and seal script characteristics. This unusual mix of script types demands a patient perusal of each character, thereby slowing down the reading of the text so that the viewer may fully savor
the wisdom embedded in its mundane imagery and unadorned language.

Couplet on Water and Flowers, Feng Kanghou (Chinese, 1901–1983), Pair of hanging scrolls; ink on paper, China

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