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張泰《採芝圖》“Picking Ganoderma” by Zhang Tai


“Picking Ganoderma” by Zhang Tai (1435-1508)[1]









In the rain-washed mountain, herbal seedlings thriving,

An elderly rustic looking for Ganoderma strolls in verdant foliage.

Purple blooms in the breeze greet his dawn staff;

Chill fragrance infused in dew damps his autumn clothes.

Stony fields, low clouds, no labouring.

An orchid path, few people: [he] returns alone with his gleanings.

[He] gets to nourish longevity in a time of peace:

To relieve hunger, how are [Ganoderma] inferior to the vetches of Shouyang?[3]

[1] We don’t know to which painting this poem is dedicated. The images below are examples of paintings on the theme of picking Ganoderma (especially lingzhi 靈芝), which is often a metaphor for the status of immortality or its pursuit. [2] Red characters rhyme. [3] Shouyang was where the high antiquity figures Boyi 伯夷 and his brother Shuqi 叔齊 lived their life in reclusion and allegedly survived on vetches.

  1. "Caizhi tu" 採芝圖 by Qian Gu 錢穀 (fl. 16th century)

  2. "Caizhi xian" 採芝仙 by Zhang Chong 張翀 (fl. 17th century)

  3. "Caizhi tu" 採芝圖 by Ye Xiangkui 葉良揆

  4. "Caizhi xian tu" 採芝仙圖 by Yan Hongzi 嚴宏滋 (fl. 18 century)

Picture credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei


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