The piece is attributed to be written Xie An (謝安) (320–385). It may be an imitation. This is a mourning letter telling the sudden death Zhonglang (中郎), a government official. He expressed his heartfelt pain and unbearable feelings.
A young girl called Cao E (曹娥)(130–143CE) was a native of Shangyu (上虞)(today 浙江紹興 Shaoxing of Zhejiang). She was the daughter of Cao Xu (曹盱) . Cao Xu was a shaman who was talented in singing and dancing. In 143 CE, while Cao Xu was presiding over a ceremony on a boat commemorating Wu Zixu (伍子胥)during the Duanwu Festival, a sudden strong gale shook the boat and he fell into the river and was drowned. Cao E was overwhelmed with grief. She, in an act of filial piety courageously decided to search for her father along the river for 17 days but could not find the body of her father. Cao E eventually dived into the water. After 5 days, she emerged holding her father’s body. Though dead, her face appeared as if she was alive. People in Zhejiang (浙江) commemorated Cao E for her filial piety.
The poem depicts an evening scene with the hill tops, rocks and tree tops bathed in red in the setting sun. There were a few panels of fishing nets with reflections in the water. The scene reminded me of Jiangnan and was akin to the big screen landscape painting of Ju Ran.
榜 – 划船用的工具, a paddle for rowing a boat, in the poem 榜 may mean panels (of fishing net)
魚罾 – 漁網的一種。俗稱扳罾﹑攔河罾, a fishing net
江南 – Jiangnan, – a geographic area in China referring to lands immediately to the south of Yangtze River, including the southern part of the Yangtze Delta.
屏風 –a fixed or movable upright partition usually decorated with paintings used to divide a room, to give shelter from drafts, heat, or light, or to provide concealment or privacy.
巨然 – Ju Ran (10th century) was a great master of Chineselandscapepainting of the late Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (五代十國) and early Northern Song periods. He was a student of Dong Yuan (董源). Very little is known about his life, and not even his family name is known (Ju Ran is his Buddhist name). He might be a native of Zhong Ling (鐘陵)(today Jiangxi 江西) or Jiàn yè (建業)(today Jiāngsū 江蘇). Ju Ran worked at the Southern Tang (南唐) court and he quickly rose to prominence as a landscape painter. He was a student of Dong Yuan ( 董源). Together with Dong Yuan, they are respectfully called ‘Dong Ju’ (董巨).
Lin Bu (林逋)( c967- 1028) also known as Junfu (君復) and Hé Jìng Xiānshēng(和靖先生) was a Chinese poet during the Northern Song dynasty. He was a native of Qiántáng (錢塘)(today Zhèjiāng Hángzhōu 浙江杭州). Lin was one of the most famous verse masters and poets of his time. He lived in solitary by the West Lake (西湖) in Hangzhou (杭州) for much of his later life. An old plum tree and a crane kept him company. Lin regarded the old plum tree as his wife and the crane as his son (梅妻鶴子). He writings were collected in Lín Héjìng Shī Jí (林和靖詩集).
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 an 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 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.
This piece of calligraphy was executed on a hand-held fan (扇子 or 摺扇). It is used to induce an airflow for cooling or refreshing oneself. The double layer of paper (扇面) is mounted on slats which revolve around a pivot so that it can be closed when not in use.