Tang Poem in running-cursive script

Artist: Bada Shanren 八大山人 (朱耷) (1626-1705)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1702-1703
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 176 × 44 cm (69 5/16 × 17 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Bequest from the collection of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai, donated in their memory by Mr. Shao F. Wang
Shao F. Wang collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

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

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)

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


This four-line poem, titled Seeing Off a Buddhist Monk, was composed by the Tang-dynasty poet Liu Changqing (ca. 710-after 787). Essentially a teasing poem of farewell, the text also contains an underlying theme of escape from the mundane world, referring to Fertile Isles Mountain, near Xinchang, in Zhejiang Province, where several famous Buddhist temples and retreats were located. The poet advises his friend that if he truly wishes to find solitude and seclusion, he should not seek to live in such a well-known place.

The lonely cloud and the wilderness goose,
How should they abide in the world of man?
Do not buy land on Fertile Isles Mountain,
People of the time already know the place.

Translation by Stephen D. Allee

Published References
  • Joseph Chang, Quianshen Bai, Catalogue by 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. 28, pp. 126-129.
  • 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.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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