“Yunlong shanque” 筠籠山雀 (The mountain tit in the bamboo cage), anonymous artist of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), inscription by Jiaqing Emperor 嘉慶 (1760-1820, ruling 1796-1820)
Picture credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei
編竹成樊籠， Bamboo is woven into a cage
怡情置山雀。 [There] to place a mountain tit for amusement.
毛羽難奮飛， Unable to spread its wings,
棲條愁束縛。 [It] perches on the bar, frowning at the constraint.
未感稻粱恩， No gratitude for the grains bestowed;
拂性非所樂。 What runs against nature brings no pleasure.
好友相招呼， A friend calling it over,
振翅思騰躍。 [It] flutters its wings, intending to leap out.
既受養育慈， Having received the kindness of nurture,
奚能如野鶴。 How can it live like a wild crane? 
境遇安其常， [One] makes peace with the norm of any circumstance:
 Red characters rhyme.  The image of yehe 野鶴 (wild crane) is often associated with Daoism, freedom, and reclusion.  Gewu 格物 (investigation of things) is a pivotal concept singled out by the eminent Neo-Confucianist Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200) from the Daxue 大學 (Great Learning). He believes the abstract li 理 (principal) lies within the world and the investigation of things constitutes a practical way of grasping the abstract via observing the concrete.
My new feeders that allow the birds to "receive the kindness of nurture" without staying in a cage. Some birds are just luckier than others!
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