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孫元衡《菠蘿》“The Pineapple” by Sun Yuanheng


[The pineapple] is covered with elaborate patterns and grows around the stem. There are leaves coming out from the top [of the fruit], lush as a phoenix’s tail. Its colour is pale yellow; its taste is sour-sweet.






Luxuriant emerald leaves are its extraordinary wings,

With scarlet patterns and yellow substance, [like] a phoenix landing with grace.

It must be as sweet as shoots of zhonglong bamboo,[2]

 Its fragrance crisp to the core, surrounding the single branch.


* From Sun Yuanheng 孫元衡 (b. 1661), Chikanji 赤崁集, 4.64:


[1] Red characters rhyme.

[2] Zhonglong 鍾籠 is an archaic term for a variety of bamboo whose name is only known in literature; see, for example, its earliest known occurrence in the “Changdi fu” 長笛賦 in the Wenxuan 文選: The poet may have chosen this word for its mythical flavour to match the analogy between the pineapple and the phoenix. Also, the blossoming of bamboo is very rare, and the shi 實 (literally “fruit”) here is most likely to refer to bamboo shoots.

"Fenghuang xiangyu" 鳳凰祥雲, album leaf by Dai Hong 戴洪 (fl. 18th century)

Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei

By fir0002flagstaffotos [at] gmail.comCanon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 - own work,GFDL 1.2,


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