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  • Julia Min

惠崇春江晓景 On “A River Spring Dawn”


原作: 苏轼(字子瞻, 号东坡居士; 11世纪北宋)

旧版英译:戈登.奥赛茵, 闵晓红, 黄海鹏(1990)

新版修改及赏析: 闵晓红(2023)





On “A River Spring Dawn”

--an inscription for the painting by Monk Hui Chong

written by Su Shi (11th AC, social name 'Dongpo')

old En. trans. by G. Osing, J. Min & H. Huang (1990)

Revision+ annot. by Julia Min (2023)

When old bamboos set off a few peach blooms

And one wild duck calls out: “The water is fine”,

And asparagus and wormwood show green shoots,

Then surfaces the globefish, in the nick of time.


Hui Chong(965- 1017)was a Song Dynasty monk, and a painter particularly famous for his landscape paintings with mountains and water features often enriched with geese, ducks and birds – an expression of everyday life in the country, or in an academic word, humanism. It could be a collector seeking for an inscription from Su Shi on the painting. Unfortunately, like many artistic works lost to the invasion of the Jin and the Liao, or later in history, the painting is no longer found. Fortunately, the picture has lived through this poem, and has been very well-known ever since. Every school pupil in China can recite it. The 2nd line is often quoted in literature.

Indeed, Su Shi has successfully put into living words the moment when all of nature come to life where other dimensions of physical sensations are technically built into the one surface of a painting. The painting pleases the eye like poetry, whereas the poem presents the picture in rhyming motion. The Song people would say: you can paint poetry, and also, you may compose a painting with words.

For your interest, the western landscape paintings didn’t start as a genre until a few hundred years later, starting during the renaissance and peaked in industrial revolustion period.


1. Blooming Alone in Winter by Gordon Osing, Julia Min, and Huang Haipeng, published by the People's Publication House Henan Province in 1990 (《寒心未肯随春态》戈登.奥赛茵,闵晓红,黄海鹏) (“Spring Dawn at the Hui Chong River” --“When old bamboo sets off a few peach blooms/And one wild duck calls out, “The water is fine!”/And onion tips and asparagus shoot green--/Then surfaces globefish, in the nick of time.”)

2. picture from baidu


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