Professor WONG Wai Cheong writing a Poem of Yuan Jie (元結) in running script




Giān lǐ fēng lín yān yǔ shēn , Wú zhāo wú mù yǒu yuán yín.
Tíng ráo jìng tīng qū zhōng yì , Hǎo shì yún shān sháo huò yīn.

: 船 boat

好是:真是。是舜樂,是湯樂。元結有《補樂歌》十首,其八小序說:“大,有虞氏之樂歌也。” 又其十小序說:“大,有殷氏之樂歌也。” 全句的意思是,這曲子真是雲山之中的韶、濩似的樂曲。

Seals : Wong (Huang) 黃 (朱紋), Xīn Yuán zhǎng nián 欣園長秊(年) (朱紋)


This is the third of the series of five Āi nǎi (欸乃) poems. They were written in 767CE.

Āi nǎi (欸乃) was some folk songs sang by boatmen / fishermen in the water among Húnán (湖南), Guǎng Xī (廣西) and Guì Zhōu (貴州).

欸乃:拔船的聲音。一說是湖南、廣西以及貴州三省交界廣大地方山歌末尾時用高亢嗓音喊唱出來的一聲號子。元結自註:“欸乃:棹舡之聲。” 欸乃曲:即“山歌”或“船歌”的別稱。


The poet was on his boat journey sailing upstream from Zhǎng Shā (長沙) back to Dào Zhōu (道州). The maple forests by the side of the river are picturesque. In addition to the sounds of monkeys in the mornings and evenings, the singing of the boatmen echoed among the poetic scene. However, the water in the river was rapid and the journey was rough. The 5 poems were impromptu work to encourage the boatman to persevere with their heavy work.


Yuan Jie (元結) (719-772), also known as Cì Shān (次山), Màn Láng (漫郎) and Ao Sǒu (聱叟) was a famous poet in the Tang Dynasty. He was a native of Henan (河南). Yuan passed his imperial Chin-shih examination (登進士第) in 753 and was granted some posts in the government. He fought against Shǐ Sīmíng rebels (史思明叛軍) and was promoted to the post of Governor of Dào zhōu (道州刺史). Yuan has many merits. His poems reflect the harsh lives of the people and the evil and corruption of the government. He spoke out for the people. His poems of sceneries (山水詩作) were fresh and innovative. Unfortunately many of his writings have been lost. Scholars in the Ming Dynasty collated his works into Yuán Cì-shān Jí (元次山集).


Professor WONG Wai Cheong (黃維琩教授) (1902 – 1993), zi (字) Xīn Yuán (欣園), hao (號) Zǐ Shí (子實) was a well-known Chinese literature scholar and Calligrapher. Coming from a highly educated family, Mr Wong graduated from Guangzhou Zhongshan University (中山大學) with degrees. He was both a lawyer and a certified accountant and he held senior positions in the Guangzhou government. Mr Wong migrated to Hong Kong around the 1950s and taught at various secondary and tertiary education institutions. His contributions to Chinese education were significant. He had publications of his own poems and lecture notes.


The format of this long and narrow scroll is known as qín tiáo (琴條) or tiáo fú (條幅). The shape looks like a gǔ qin (古琴) hung vertically on a wall.


Further readings :

黄維琩教授書法選輯 (1994) 鑑古書學社




Happy Mother’s Day



游子吟  Yóu Zǐ Yín (Poem of a Wanderer) by Mèng Jiāo (孟郊) (751—814)


慈母手中線, 遊子身上衣。

Cí mǔ shǒu zhōng xiàn, yóu zǐ shēn shang yī.

My loving mother stretches a needle and thread in her hand.

She is making clothes for her departing son.



Lín xíng mì mi fèng, yì kǒng chí chí guī.

Stitch by stitch, she sews them very tightly,

Fearing that her son will not be back for a long time.



Shuí yán cùn cǎo xīn, bào dé sān chūn huī.

How could the grateful humble inch-tall grass

Ever repay the nurturing Spring Sun.


Mèng Jiāo (孟郊)(751—814) also known as Mèng Dōng Yě (孟東野) was a scholar and a poet. He was a native of Hú Hōu (湖州) (now Zhè Jiāng 浙江). Mèng suffered from lots of hardship and he did not succeed in his imperial Chin-shih examination (登進士第) until the late age of 46 and been a small official.

Little young grass grows toward the warm spring sunlight. Mother’s love is like the Spring Sun, warm and comfortable but not violently hot. Nothing can repay the love of our mothers. The 42 words poem does not contain the word ‘tears’ but it is deeply moving. It conveys strong emotions.


Further readings : (慈母手中线)

Happy Mother’s Day

IMG_0308 (876x1280)


Jī Xuě Níng Hán Tie 積雪凝寒帖 and Kuài xuě shí qíng tiē 快雪時晴帖 by Wang Xizhi (王羲之)

Jī Xuě Níng Hán Tie 積雪凝寒帖 (Cao Shu 草書)(cursive script)



The images of ink rubbings have been photographical modified, with black and white reversed so that the characters are black on a white background.

Jī Xuě Níng Hán Tie 積雪凝寒帖

計與足下別廿六年, 於今雖時書問, 不解闊懷。

Counting back I have not seen you for 26 years. While we write to each other from time to time, I still miss you very much.

省足下先後二書, 但增嘆慨。

After reading your two recent letters, I feel even more sorrowful (in not being able to see you).


Snow has thickly accumulated. (There had been heavy snowfall.) The weather is extremely cold. It has not been that cold for the last 50 years.

想頃如常, 冀來夏秋間, 或復得足下問耳。

I hope you are keeping well. I expect to hear from you sometime next Summer and Autumn.

 比者悠悠 ,如何可言。

Time flows on steadily. I do not know what to say about my gloomy feelings.

For further information on Shi Qi Tie, please visit the following webpage.

Cursive script: Shi Qi Tie (The Seventeenth) of Wang Xizhi 王羲之十七帖 (Part 1)


Kuài xuě shí qíng tiē 快雪時晴帖 (Xing Shū 行書)(semi-cursive script or running script)

Even these 3 words are not linked together, they echo with one another as a piece.
Kuài xuě shí qíng tiē 快雪時晴帖

The text:   羲之頓首快雪時晴佳想安善未果為結力不次王羲之頓首山陰張侯

頓首 mean bowing one’s head and is a courteous sign-off of letters. 羲之頓首 means Xizhi bows.  山陰張侯 Zhāng hóu of Shānyīn is the recipient of this letter.


The snow has fallen for a short time and it is sunny now. ( 剛才下了一陣雪,現在天又轉晴了。)


I trust you are keeping well. (想必你那裡一切都好吧!)


I have not finished writing the letter to fully express my thoughts. (沒能照心意把信寫完,表達難以得體。)


I felt helpless and inadequate. (心有餘而力不足。) OR  I felt weak. I could not express myself probably. I had to stop writing. (體力不繼,表達難以得體,就此停筆。)

At the very end of the manuscript, there is a very small inscription of two characters ‘Jūn qiàn’ (君倩).

The calligraphy of Wang Xizhi was fresh, elegant and innovative.

Please see two more detailed webpages on these two masterpieces by Wang Xizhi.

Bibliography and further readings :

蔣勳 (2010) 手帖 南朝嵗月,  INK 印刻文學生活雜誌出版有限公司 ISBN 978-986-6377-94-5

Ouyang Z and Wen C.F. (2008) Chinese Calligraphy, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-12107-0