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Shen Zhou 沈周 on Chinese leaf

Hanging scroll by Shen Zhou 沈周 (1427-1509)

Image credit: The National Palace Museum, Taipei (

南國昨夜雨, The rain on [this] southern land last night

肥勝大官。 [Made it] fatter than the Court Provisioner’s lamb.

党氏銷金帳, Did Dang under his golden-threaded baldachin

何曾得一[1] Ever taste this delight? [2]

沈周 Shen Zhou

[1] Red characters rhyme.

[2] The last two lines allude to the following anecdote about Dang Jin 党進 (927-977), a general at the beginning of the Northern Song (960-1127); recorded in Li Zongkong’s 李宗孔 (1620-1689) Songbai leichao 宋稗類鈔:


Academician Tao Gu (903-970) bought a courtesan who had formerly served Defender-in-Chief Dang [Jin]. Brewing a tea brick with melted snow, [Tao Gu] said to the courtesan, “Dang’s house probably knows nothing about this.” She replied, “He is a rustic. How would [he] know about such things? [He] simply has lamb with fine wine under the golden-threaded baldachin, pouring slowly, singing gently.” Tao was embarrassed by her words.


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