Poem by Zhang Jiuling 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): 26.1 x 19.2 cm (10 1/4 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, WWII-era provenance

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


Inscribed on a Landscape Folding Screen by Zhang Jiuling (678-740).

Though the burdens of my heart will never end,
I am still attracted to transcendental things;
So when I have the chance to please my senses,
I take advantage of the beauty in a painting.
I have always embraced the idea of wilderness,
But am pressured by my fate within the world;
While mundane affairs, indeed, are ever thus,
I shall hold fast to that idea and never budge.

This artist has captured my innermost desires,
Wielding his marvelous brush before the cliff;
Every change conforms to what is really there,
Every height and depth is identical to nature.
When it is displayed within the northern hall,
One seems to stand beside the southern hills;
Though one stay put and never leave his door,
In spirit he has traveled to someplace far away.

The day lily can be planted against sorrow,
And coupled bliss will assuage one's anger,
If little things can have such great effects,
How much more then, this secluded fish trap!
Words and images melt away of themselves.
I have simply used them to express my idea;
I've gotten such enjoyment from this object,
That it will linger on forever in my mind.

(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
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