A drizzling rain falls on Qingming Festival. On their way, people’s hearts are breaking . Inquiring, where a tavern can be found? A cowherd points to the Apricot Flower Village at a distance.
(In the second sentence, the words ‘欲斷魂’ are so strong in emotion that some people interrupt this sentence as ‘People are on their way to a distant place and cannot go to sweep the tombs in their home village on the Qingming Day. This is why their hearts are breaking.’)
The character ‘眀’ should be ‘明’. Surprisingly calligraphers in the old days put extra strokes in some words. I just follow this special tradition.
宋 王禹偁 (Wáng Yǔ-chēng) (954 – 1001)
Passing the Qingming Festival without wine and flower is as lonely and dry as a monk in the wilderness.
Yesterday I asked my neighbour for a new fire (after the Hanshi Festival when all fire was extinguished); early this morning, I use the fire to light a lamp for my studies.
(Some people interpreted the second last sentence in a literal sense as ‘my neighbour begged me for a new fire’. As the word ‘乞’ means ‘to beg’, it is used to describe the poet’s own action of borrowing from the neighbour in a submissive manner, not the other way round. When referring to other people’s actions, the Chinese will definitely use a more polite and respectful term.)
Spring couplets (春聯 ) are usually seen on the sides of doors leading to people’s homes or as hanging scrolls in an interior. They used as a New Year’s decoration that expresses happy and hopeful thoughts for the coming year. They are usually written on red paper, the colour of happiness.
Originating from around 600 CE and flourishing during the last thousand year, spring couplets remain an enduring aspect of Chinese culture. Please see more examples on my new page on couplets for Chinese New Year.
To celebrate my 60th Birthday, I worked with an old piece of my Calligraphy teacher, Mr WONG Wai Cheong 黃維琩老師. This piece of Calligraphy is about Jesus Christ – our Redeemer and our good shepherd. I am a practising Catholic but I also study Buddhist sutras respectfully. Buddhist literature is immensely important to Chinese literature and philosophy. The Diamond Sutra (金剛經) emphasizes the practice of non-abiding and non-attachment. It is not about the worship of idols for materialistic things. I admire great Calligraphy work especially the gigantic writings on mountain cliffs. A lot of those writings were about Buddhist literature. People at that time were very courageous and had very strong faith and great dedications. They were also highly gifted and artistic. People today still learn from old masterpieces engraved on rocks.
The text is as follows:
More information about Mr Wong can be seen at my website page called ‘Studies of the Calligraphy of Mr WONG Wai Cheong’.