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… is for Dai

Dai Li (paintings dated 1735-1753)
“Flowers” 1753

Album of 8 leaves, ink and color on paper
21 x 27 cm. (8 1/4 x 10 5/8 in.)

Artist’s seals:
Shouzhou; Shiping; Liyin; Dai Li; Caolu; Dai; Li; Yifeng daoren; Shiping; Xiaodi tanqing

Collectors’ seals:
Wenxin shending: Mengquan shuwu shoucang jinshi shuhua zhizhang; Jingmen wangshi shoucan zhizhang

Suzuki Kei, ed.: Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Paintings (Tokyo, 1983), vol. 4, pp. 198-199, no. JP7-064.

(See inscriptions below)

“Genuine paintings of flowers by Dai Shiping (Dai Li). During the second lunar month of winter of the year 1929, inscribed by Longshanren (Wang Chen) (1867-1938).”

1) “I too am mad about daubing bamboo,
back and forth go the water-and-ink twigs;
I cannot use stone green (malachite)
To finely draw the feathers of the parrot’s song.
Shiping Dai Li.”

2) “Dotting green on this red countless times,
what need to sketch and draw and waste time?
To spread richness and nobility and authentic news,
first ask the lotus blossom if any is present.
Shiping Shanren.”

3) “In front of the hall are no random growths,
one color is suitable for the male;
the entire day the window screens and bars are quiet,
watching them and I am as if intoxicated.
Shiping Dai Li.”

4) “What has yellow flowers like the chrysanthemum?
for them I plaited a bamboo curtain to provide shade;
Madder skirts appear like a play before the gate,
a blemish on the home of a romantic retired scholar.
Shiping Dai Li.”

5) “Pale yellow is the style most worthy of pity,
flowers serve the depths of spring and shallow summer days;
I remember Qian and the good words he left behind,
laughing at the bamboo fence full of charm.
Shiping Dai Li.”

6) “Lotus leaves are five inches, lotus blossoms are beautiful,
attached to waves they don’t obstruct the oars of the painted boat;
Wishing to enjoy the fragrant wind for four or five months,
one can also intercept the slender waist of a beautiful woman.
Shiping Shanren.”

7) “Each time the blossoms open they grieve the guest’s soul,
near the window he draws until the yellow dusk approaches;
Powerful families compete to buy the festive colored branches,
coolly laughing in the eastern wind, leaving light ink traces.”

8) “Chen Daoshan liked to paint yellow roses in detail, but I have not seen that he painted purple wisteria. Could it be that he was not capable of doing them? Or have I not looked enough? As the rain passed a southern window I painted two types, one as it is, one as I thought it should be. During the first month of spring of the year 1753 during the Qianlong reign-era, I painted this at Lotus Fragrance Village in Stone City (Nanjing), Dai Li of Yangzhou.”

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