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鄭東《題李唐牧牛圖》“On Li Tang’s Painting of Pasturing Cattle” by Zheng Dong (fl. 14th century)





[I] so envy the countryman not leaving the village,

His herd of cattle on the hillside, scattered like clouds.

When [shall I] buy some cattle to pasture with him?

Playing the piccolo at times towards the roots of trees.

* From Chen Bangyan 陳邦彥 (1678-1752) ed., Lidai tihuashilei 歷代題畫詩類, Wenyuange Siku Quanshu 文淵閣四庫全書 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1987) edition, vol. 1436, 70.7b-8a.

[1] Red characters rhyme. In addition to its role in rhyming, the word shugen 樹根 (the roots of trees)  represents an evocative natural image that not only strengthens the detached, idyllic mood but also has mystic overtones. The visible part of the roots above the ground, typically of tall and/or old trees, is often associated with a crouching dragon.

Album leaf by Zhang Yan 張演 of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei

The newcomers to my neighbourhood


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