Inscription at top:
“Gentle breeze blows from the East and the weather is starting to warm up. Birds are flying from the valley while fish is swimming in the river. Everything in nature is prospering and I forget my concern and worries. Life is short and I shall make the most out of it. Endowed with talent, I used to be chasing wealth and fame. As I understand the true meaning of life now, I give up my position as an official. I avoid the mundane society and do not care about the court or wealth. I live in the South Hill and work in village in the East Hill. Sometimes it’s raining and the work is laborious. My sweat wets the soil. My servants do not work hard and there still exist a lot of weeds in the field. I work from day and night. The farm work is not easy and I can only get enough to eat at the end of year. I refuse to yield to the convention of the society by keeping my virtue. Sometimes I climb to the top of the East Hill and write poems. When there is wine, I drink freely until drunk. I am enjoying my lifestyle of living aloof.”
“Everyone has his own timing and fate. When Tao Yuanming went back from his trip, it’s hard for him to explain the meaning of his lifestyle to other people. Later a lot of people try to follow this lifestyle but they do not get the true meaning of it. Most of them give up and continue under the notion of the society. If the individual is able to comprehend the true meaning of this lifestyle, he is able to give up his officer position easily and stand poverty.”
“The work was finished in the winter of year Xinhai while the scholar was hiding in Mount Zhongnan to avoid upheavel. The portrait of Yuanming is painted by Yu Zhiding .
Written by ‘individual who is independent of the mundane world’ in the world of broad sea and bright sky (far away from the chaos of the mundane world)”
Translated by Yihui Lin, Northwestern University, 2013
32 1/4 × 16 1/4 in.
Gift of Florence Ayscough and Harley Farnsworth MacNair
Extended information about this artwork
Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Paintings: Third Series, Vol. 1 American and Canadian Collections 1, Research Field of Art, East Asian Department, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo, by University of Tokyo Press, 2013; page I-25, No. A 3–075.
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