12Mar/20

Chinese poem illustration/邶风 简兮/佚名 Dance of the past

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Chinese poem illustration: 邶风 简兮/ Bei Wind – Bang Bang by Anonymous

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The dancers are bravo, the ceremony is grandiose, the lord is mighty. What a typical grand ceremony of Zhou dynasty! Every detail looks bright, lively and positive, until the 4th paragraph, everything turns into blurred and negative, with a sense of blaming and irony to Zhou people, i.e. the glorious and beautiful westerners.

The crystal clear image of the depicted dance and ceremony versus the negative blaming and irony aroused many deciphers to this poem till today.

A new interpretation is developed in this video: the poet, a Shang people , was an officer of Bei state, he recorded this glory event of Zhou through his sad and irony eyes. Both Zhou and Shang people are vividly and sentimentally reflected through this single event, this single poem, yet the tension in between was revealed softly with his gifted writing.

邶风 简兮
佚名

简兮简兮,方将万舞。
日之方中,在前上处。

硕人俣俣,公庭万舞。
有力如虎,执辔如组。

左手执龠,右手秉翟。
赫如渥赭,公言锡爵。

山有榛,隰有苓。
云谁之思?西方美人。
彼美人兮,西方之人兮。

08Mar/20

Chinese poem illustration/出塞/王昌龄 The long march

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Chinese poem illustration: 出塞/Out Fortress Gateway by Wang Changling

出塞

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One of the masterpiece of Frontier and Fortress Poetry(边塞诗), with the borrowed and concealed title Fortress Mountain Moon(关山月) from Musical Department(汉乐府) of Han dynasty.

The very typical Tang voice: bold, strong with a sense of the past long history, with viewing of ten thousands miles of distance and space featured this poem, especially the first pair of sentence.

Wang Changling is the pioneer of Frontier and Fortress poetry and the top master of Qijue(七绝), this poem do resemble one of his best poems, a result of his real experience in the field of frontier in his late 20s. The different meaning of Lang March(长征) between Tang and today is analysed.

出塞
王昌龄

秦时明月汉时关,
万里长征人未还。
但使龙城飞将在,
不教胡马度阴山。

06Mar/20

Chinese poem illustration/邶风 柏舟/佚名 Dangerous drifting

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Chinese poem illustration: 邶风 柏舟/ Boat of Cypress Wood by Anonymous

邶风 柏舟

Boat is always a metaphor of fate, fate of a lord, fate of a state. It was further developed by Zhuangzi(庄子) as the ultimate destiny of a hermit: self-sufficient like a touring boat with loose anchor(饱食而遨游,泛若不系之舟,虚而遨游者也). This poem is the very origin of that image, that metaphor, that wording.

This poem depicted the common feeling of worriness in a very impressive and elegant way. The empathy created in turn makes this poem unique and popular.

An argument on the title is raised: The Boat of Cypress Wood implies this poem is about the Bei State and its lord. It use double entendre of 柏(cypress) to indicate 伯(lord), these two characters share the same sound in Zhou dynasty.

邶风 柏舟
佚名

泛彼柏舟,亦泛其流。
耿耿不寐,如有隐忧。
微我无酒,以敖以游。

我心匪鉴,不可以茹。
亦有兄弟,不可以据。
薄言往愬,逢彼之怒。

我心匪石,不可转也。
我心匪席,不可卷也。
威仪棣棣,不可选也。

忧心悄悄,愠于群小。
觏闵既多,受侮不少。
静言思之,寤辟有摽。

日居月诸,胡迭而微?
心之忧矣,如匪浣衣。
静言思之,不能奋飞。

05Mar/20

Chinese poem illustration/鄘风 君子偕老/佚名 A grand funeral?

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Chinese poem illustration: 鄘风 君子偕老/ Yong Wind – Gone with the Lord by Anonymous

鄘风 君子偕老

YouTube above not applicable? watch full video at Bilibili: 鄘风 君子偕老

A beauty, a queen, with the most grand attire, the most beautiful woman within the state of Yong. It looks like a most grand ceremony, while the poem was deciphered as a blaming to the queen by Han scholars 2000 years ago. What is more, a background story with real name of the queen and king was proposed against this poem: a promiscuous queen, an ugly history figure to blame of.

More and more people today do not buy in the Han story. The poem is very clear a poem of praising the queen, her outlook, her manner and her virtue, and all these turns to be the huge contrast to her misfortunes, rather than her promiscuity.

A new interpretation is developed in this video: the venue is the funeral of the king. Some evidences are as follows:

  1. 象服 is the utmost grand attir, ascending the throne, king’s wedding and death is the circumstance for this attire most probably.
  2. The 2nd and 3rd paragraph are all about the queen, while the first paragraph is hardly to be considered about queen, it is more alike a grand ceremony on march. 委委佗佗 or 委蛇委蛇 in 召南·羔羊 describe the long lines of people in zigzag like snake(委蛇 has 84 writing varieties, the basic form is by 它”、“也”、“蛇, see detail at http://www.chinanews.com/cul/2013/02-04/4544402.shtml). The comparison of 如山如河 is about the long troop with coffin moving steadily like mountain, calmly slowly like river, way to the cemetery(出殡), isn’t it? The image of mountain and river also give enormous energy and power.
  3. 胡然而天也?胡然而帝也?This is a typical situation in a Chinese funeral :呼天抢地, shout to sky and knock on the ground with own head. 帝 is a borrowed word of 地, this borrow is very common in ancient Chinese literature. The character 帝 has a great chance which was evolved from 地.
  4. The most grand attire but all in white, this is different than other poems in Book of Songs, those outlook/attire depicting are always colorful. All while is also the Chinese funeral dressing code.
  5. 副笄六珈 could be 负梓六驾. This is a bold proposal mainly by the poem writing, the content should be intertextual and antithesis. The first sentence 君子偕老 has no intertextuality and antithesis with jewelry and makeup, which is the current interpretation of 副笄六珈.

鄘风 君子偕老
佚名

君子偕老,副笄六珈。
委委佗佗,如山如河,象服是宜。
子之不淑,云如之何?

玼兮玼兮,其之翟也。
鬒发如云,不屑髢也;
玉之瑱也,象之揥也,扬且之皙也。
胡然而天也?胡然而帝也?

瑳兮瑳兮,其之展也。
蒙彼绉絺,是绁袢也。
子之清扬,扬且之颜也。
展如之人兮,邦之媛也!