Poem by Geng Wei in cursive script

Artist: Bada Shanren 八大山人 (朱耷) (1626-1705)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, ca. 1699
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
H x W (image): 154.8 x 75.1 cm (60 15/16 x 29 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Bequest from the collection of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai, donated in their memory by Mr. Shao F. Wang
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

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

To 1997
Wang Fangyu (1913-1997) and Sum Wai (1918-1996), to 1997 [1]

To 1998
Shao F. Wang, New York and Short Hills, NJ, by descent, to 1998 [2]

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


[1] According to Curatorial Note 2, Joseph Chang and Stephen D. Allee, May 7, 1998, and Joseph Chang and Stephen D. Allee, August 18, 1998, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Shao F. Wang
Wang Fangyu 1913-1997
Sum Wai 1918-1996


The text on this scroll, titled Inscribed at Clear Springs Temple, is a poem by the Tang-dynasty poet Geng Wei (active mid- to late 8th century). Geng composed the poem during a visit to the estate of the recently deceased statesman and nature poet Wang Wei (ca. 701-761), who is the actual subject of the poem:

Blending Ruism, Moism, and the Holy Religion,
By the cloudy spring, he built his former hut;
But Meng Wall Cove is desolate now and still,
And Wheel Rim Creek just winds naturally away.
The inner teachings dissolved his many cares,
The western garden transformed his old abode;
In the deep chamber, spring bamboo grows old,
In the thin rain, the night bell seldom tolls.
His dusty tracks remain in the golden earth,
His writings are kept beside the Stone Canal;
Still I do not know which of his companions,
Has inherited the books of this Cai Yong.

Translation by Stephen D. Allee

Published References
  • Yuan Li. "近距离阅读大师." Exploring the Enigmas of Bada Shanren – Freer’s Special Exhibition Review., 284. Shanghai, May 2016. p. 68.
  • Joseph Chang, Qianshen Bai, (Catalogue) Stephen Allee. In Pursuit of Heavenly Harmony: Paintings and Calligraphy by Bada Shanren from the Bequest of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 22, pp. 108-109.
  • 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.
  • et al. Chinese Calligraphy. The Culture and Civilization of China New Haven and Beijing. p. 446, pl. 10.7.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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