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“Mianquan” 眠犬 (Sleeping Dog) by Jin Tingbiao 金廷標 Pt.1

Album leaf “Mianquan” 眠犬 (sleeping dog) by Jin Tingbiao 金廷標 (d. 1767)

Picture credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei

The image comes from an album painted by 金廷標 Jin Tingbiao (d. 1767) in the style of Chen Shu 陳書 (1660-1735), a prominent female painter of the early Qing dynasty. All the ten leaves of this album are filled with inscribed heptasyllabic quatrains. The two quatrains on this painting were written by Qianlong Emperor 乾隆 (1711-1799, ruling 1735-1796), and those on the opposite page were responses from his ministers, using the same poetic form and rhyming characters chosen by the emperor. A high-quality digitalisation of this album leaf can be found here.

The two poems by the emperor:

一團烏玉卧婆, A ball of ebony jade lies coiled,

似解黒甜樂趣。 As though [it] understood dark sweetness[2] is full of fun.

如此宴眠不吠盗, So fast asleep [you] don’t bark at burglars –

主人畜爾意云[1] Why do you think your master keeps you?

圖成一日幾摩, The painting completed, [I] fondle it several times a day.

睡趣偽饒醒趣。 When one’s asleep fun is deceptively plenty; when awake fun is even greater.

自是畫家具深意, Surely the painter aimed for a profound meaning.

慢從李迪較如。 How about leisurely comparing it with Li Di[’s work]?[3]

[1] Red characters rhyme. [2] Heitian 黑甜 (dark sweetness) refers to sleep. [3] Li Di 李迪 (c. 1100-1197?) was an imperial court painter known for his depictions of plants and animals. For his painting of a hunting dog, see

"Liequan tu" 獵犬圖 (Hunting dog) by Li Di

Picture credit: The Palace Museum, Beijing (

... and finally, the coil that inspired this blog:


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