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貝瓊《澄林冬日》“A Wintry Day in a Limpid Grove” by Bei Qiong (1314-1379)

連村桑柘猶存葉, In village after village mulberry and silkworm-thorn[1] leaves linger still,

一樹枇杷已著。 A whole loquat tree[2] has already donned its blossoms.

十月澄林好風景, A limpid grove in the tenth month, a fine scene:

恰如秋浦野人[3] Just like a country home by autumnal shores.

* From Bei Qiong, Qingjiang Bei xiansheng ji 清江貝先生集(Sibu congkan chubian 四部叢刊初編 vol. 1531, Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1919), 9.8a:

[1] The leaves of sang 桑 (mulberry; Morus alba) and zhe柘 (silkworm-thorn; Maclura tricuspidata) are both used as feed in sericulture. As a compound, sangzhe may also refer to agriculture. [2] The pipa 枇杷 (loquat; Eriobotrya japonica) is much appreciated for its succulent, golden fruits that have many culinary and medicinal uses. The plant has also been celebrated in Chinese literature as its flowers bloom in late autumn or early winter (about the tenth month in the traditional Chinese calendar) when most other flowering plants are dormant, making the loquat one of the most notable flower images between the seasons of chrysanthemum and plum blossom. Tea made from dried loquat flowers can help relieve coughing. [3] Red characters rhyme.

Album leaf depicting loquat fruits (usually harvested in early summer) by Wu Bing 吳炳 (fl. 12th century)

Picture credit: National Palace of Museum, Taipei


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