Wednesday, November 06, 2013
My mother's calligraphy on my father's vase
This pot is very special to me. My mother based the calligraphy on a famous Chinese poem, and my father (a ceramic artist and scholar) carved her writing into it. Between them, they created this incredible piece. I think about my parents every time I see this pot, which is sitting in my home office.
The verse that is inscribed on the piece was written by SuShi (蘇軾,1037 -1101), an amazingly talented super human, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). He was a writer, poet, painter, calligrapher, pharmacologist and gastronome, as well as a respected statesman of his time. I will undoubtedly share more of his work with you in the future.
This verse is about the Battle of Red Cliffs, (known as the Battle of Chibi). This battle occurred during the confrontation of the Three Kingdoms in China, it was a decisive battle, which took place in the Winter of 208 A.D. between the allied forces of the Southern Warlords Liu Bei (劉備, the Kingdom of Shu) & Sun Quan (孫權, the Kingdom of Wu), and the Northern Warlord, Cao Cao (曹操, the Kingdom of Wei). This battle is a famous example of a stronger and larger army being totally defeated by a determined few. Numerous stories, poetry, songs, dramas, video games, and movies have been based on this story. If you have any Chinese or Japanese friend, ask them about the‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ or ‘anything of the Three Kingdoms’, I promise you they will show you their upmost interest and demonstrate their passionate knowledge to you.
(To read more, check out Wikipedia)
三國志 [Sān Guó Zhì]
蘇軾 [Sū Shì ]
赤壁懷古 [niàn nú jiāo - Chìbì huáigǔ]
大江東去 浪淘盡 千古風流人物 [dàjiāng dōngqù, làngtáojìn, qiāngǔ fēngliú rénwù.]
故壘西邊 人道是 三國周郎赤壁 [gùlěi xībian, réndào shì, Sānguó Zhōuláng Chìbì.]
亂石崩雲 驚濤裂岸 捲起千堆雪 [luànshí bēngyún, jīngtāo liè àn, juǎnqǐ qiān duīxuě,]
江山如畫 一時多少豪傑 [jiāngshān-rúhuà, yīshí duōshao háojié!]
遙想公瑾當年 小喬初嫁了 雄姿英發 [yáoxiǎng gōngjǐn dāngnián, xiǎoqiáo chūjià le, xióngzī yīngfā.]
羽扇綸巾 談笑間 強虜灰飛煙滅 [yǔshàn-guānjīn, tánxiào jiān, qiánglǔ huīfēi yānmiè.]
故國神遊 多情應笑我 早生華發 [gùguó shényóu, duōqíng yīngxiào wǒ, zǎoshēng huáfà.]
人生如夢 一尊還酹江月 [rénshēng rúmèng, yīzūn huánlèi jiāngyuè.]
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
By Sū Shì
The Great River flows east, its waves sweeping away, all distinguished figures.
The fortress in the west of Red Cliff, it is said, stood Zhou Yu of the Three Kingdoms.
Scraggy rocks piercing clouds, sudden waves smashing the shores, into a thousand snow flakes.
The scene is like a painting, for a while, full of heroes!
Recalled Zhou Yu in his prime, Xiao Qiao by his side, in full majestic splendour.
The composed master strategist; talked and laughed, while the enemy's ships went up in flames.
A romantic journey to the past, I laughed at the sentimental me, prematurely turning gray.
Life is like a passing dream, a toast to the moon's reflection.
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