Poem by Han Yu in running-standard script

Artist: Bada Shanren 八大山人 (朱耷) (1626-1705)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, ca. 1697
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 26.2 x 19.2 cm (10 5/16 x 7 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Calligraphy

Album leaf

China, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), Shao F. Wang collection

To 1997
Wang Fangyu (1913-1997), to 1997 [1]

To 1998
Shao F. Wang, New York and Short Hills, NJ, by descent, to 1998

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Shao F. Wang in 1998


[1] According to Curatorial Note 3, Joseph Chang and Stephen D. Allee, May 7, 1998, and Joseph Chang and Stephen D. Allee, August 18, 1998, in the object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Shao F. Wang
Wang Fangyu 1913-1997


This leaf, along with three other leaves, were originally part of the same album. All four contain poems by famous poets of the Tang dynasty (618-907). Three of the poems describe landscape paintings, which seems to have been the main attraction for Bada Shanren. This fourth leaf, which is dated in accordance with December 8, 1697, contains a poem that addresses another of Bada's favorite themes, that of retirement from the mundane world in search of solitude and reclusion. The poem originally appears as part of the Preface to Seeing Off Li Yuan on His Return to Winding Valley, by the famous mid-Tang poet Han Yu (768-824), which Bada wrote out on a number of occasions:

Within the Winding lies your palace,
Above the Winding is where you till.
In the springs of Winding, one can wash and one can swim,
On the slopes of Winding, who is there to contest your place?
Hidden and deep, broad in its compass,
Twisting and turning, running off and coming back,
Ah, the joys of Winding, joys that never end!
Tigers and leopards keep away, dragons and krakens skulk and hide;
Ghosts and spirits keep and guard, and fend off any untoward harm.
So drink and eat, long life and good health,
Be lacking in nothing, in whatever you want;
I shall grease my cart, and fodder my horse,
And follow you to Winding, to spend my life in rambling.

(Translation by Stephen D. Allee)

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 244-251, 262.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.