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茅齋賞雨 Enjoying the Rain from a Thatched Studio

Album leaf by Dong Gao 董誥 (1740-1818), inscription by the Jiaqing Emperor 嘉慶 of the Qing (1760-1820; ruling 1796-1820)

Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei


Enjoying the Rain from a Thatched Studio





潤景全敷松竹 [1]

From heaven descend sweet showers across the land,

Moistening, infusing, delighting [our] thatched hut. [2]

The jug of jade should buy [us] fair springtime, [3]

[As] the dewy landscape enfolds [our] nest [among] the pines and bamboo.[4] 


[1] Red characters rhyme.

[2] The expression hengmao 衡茅 (literally “crossbeam cogon”) is a synecdoche for a humble hut with a bare crossbeam marking its entrance, with no door.

[3] Yuhu 玉壺 (jug of jade) is a metonym for drinks.

[4] The painting indicates that the "nest" in this line is a metaphor for the hut where three men sit together. Without the visual clues, the line may also be understood as “the dewy landscape enfolding the nests in pines and bamboo”.  


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