Du Fu: Danqing Painting

Danqing Painting

丹 青 引 赠 曹 将 军 霸
将 军 魏 武 之 子 孙
于 今 为 庶 为 清 门。
英 雄 割 据 虽 已 矣
文 采 风 流 今 尚 存。
学 书 初 学 卫 夫 人
但 恨 无 过 王 右 军。
丹 青 不 知 老 将 至
富 贵 于 我 如 浮 云。
开 元 之 中 常 引 见
承 恩 数 上 南 薰 殿。
凌 烟 功 臣 少 颜 色
将 军 下 笔 开 生 面。
良 相 头 上 进 贤 冠
猛 将 腰 间 大 羽 箭。
褒 公 鄂 公 毛 发 动
英 姿 飒 爽 来 酣 战。
先 帝 天 马 玉 花 骢
画 工 如 山 貌 不 同。
是 日 牵 来 赤 墀 下
迥 立 阊 阖 生 长 风。
诏 谓 将 军 拂 绢 素
意 匠 惨 淡 经 营 中。
斯 须 九 重 真 龙 出
一 洗 万 古 凡 马 空。
玉 花 却 在 御 榻 上
榻 上 庭 前 屹 相 向。
至 尊 含 笑 催 赐 金
圉 人 太 仆 皆 惆 怅。
弟 子 韩 干 早 入 室
亦 能 画 与 穷 殊 相。
干 惟 画 肉 不 画 骨
忍 使 骅 骝 气 凋 丧。
将 军 善 画 盖 有 神
偶 逢 佳 士 亦 写 真。
即 今 飘 泊 干 戈 际
屡 貌 寻 常 行 路 人。
途 穷 反 遭 俗 眼 白
世 上 未 有 如 公 贫。
但 看 古 来 盛 名 下
终 日 坎 壈 缠 其 身!


Dan Qing Yin Zeng Cao Jiang Jun Ba

Jiang jun wei wu zhi zi sun
Yu jin wei shu wei qing men.
Ying xiong ge ju sui yi yi
Wen cai feng liujin shang cun.

Xue shu chu xue wei fu ren
Dan hen wu guo wang you jun.
Dan qing bu zhi lao jiang zhi
Fu gui yu wo zhi fu yun.

Kai yuan zhi zhong chang yin jian
Cheng en shu shang nan xun dian.
Ling yan gong chen shao yan se
Jiang jun xia bi kai sheng mian.

Liang xiang tou shang jin xian guan
Meng jiang yao jian da yu jian.
Bao gong e gong mao fa dong
Ying zi sa shuang lai han zhan.

Xian di tian ma yu hua cong
Hua gong ru shan mao bu tong.
Shi ri qian lai chi chi xia
Jiong li chang he sheng chang feng.

Zhao wei jiang jun fu juan su
Yi jiang can dan jing ying zhong.
Si xu jiu chong zhen long chu
Yi xi wan gu fan ma kong.

Yu hua que zai yu ta shang
Ta shang ting qian yi xiang xiang.
Zhi zun han xiao cui ci jin
Yu ren tai pu jie chou chang.

Di zi han gan zao ru shi
Yi neng hua yu qiong shu xiang.
Gan wei hua rou bu hua gu
Ren shi hua liu qi diao sang.

Jiang jun shan hua gai you shen
Ou feng jia shi yi xie zhen.
Ji jin piao po gan ge ji
Lu mao xun chang xing lu ren.

Tu qiong fan zao su yan bai
Shi shang wei you ru gong pin.
Dan kan gu lai cheng ming xia
Zhong ri kan lan chan qi shen.


Danqing Painting, Give This As a Gift to General Cao Ba

Your great grandfathers were army generals during the Three Kingdoms
Now you are a commoner, having lost your government position.
Your former hero status no longer needed or wanted
Value now your ancestor’s colorful paintings living like the flowing winds.

They studied first the works from the calligrapher Wei Furen
Yet regret not moving past and beyond Wang Xizi.
When painting, these old generals forgot recorded history
As wealth was revered and known as floating clouds.

You were often introduced to Emperor Xuanzong during the middle
of his reign
Many times given the imperial favor and kindness to visit the southern palace.
The heroes painted on the palace hall walls have faded over the years
You were tasked to restore the heroes and bold colors.

These good heroes wearing noticeable imperial hats have come to life
The fierce and brave generals have large quivers of feathered arrows.
Bao Gong and E Gong are alive with your inspired brush strokes
With heroic bearing, they happily and valiantly arrive for battle.

Earlier imperial piebald horse Yu Hua was from heaven
Your painting skills so varied, every mountain appears unique.
On this day, the horse of emperor Xuanzong arrives
Suddenly it emerges through the palace gate and flies up into the winds.

By imperial edict the army general painted more scenes
Star struck as they watched his artistic mastery.
In no time several layers of dragons emerged
Only attending to his horse, cannot compare ten thousand earthly horses to his, as they look at each other.

In the picture, the piebald horses rest upon the imperial divans
Out in the courtyard these piebald horses looked at the one’s in the painting.
Emperor with respect, cherished and laughed in joy, then bestowed gifts
of gold upon the artist
The stable people and high-level servants also were not sad or disappointed.

The artist’s famous student, Han Gan, began his studies with him in his youth
Still he cannot paint like his master.
He can only draw the horse’s flesh, and not their bones
His roan stallions have lost their vibrant temperaments.

Army general’s drawings have virtuous divinities
His images require fine scholars in order to appreciate his talents.
Nowadays Cao’s style not popular for it’s stark realism
His sandals make him look like a common highway traveler.

He is pointed to by others as an example of disaster, poverty, and vulgarity
Society has yet to be fair to those without money.
His ancestors, family tree contains the famous, yet he is not
By the end of his days, his life and career considered unsuccessful.



Three Kingdoms : (220-280) Before another reunification of China were the nation states of Wei, Shu, and Wu.

Wang Xizi:  (265-420) Considered the number one master of Chinese calligraphy.

Xuanzong:  (685-762) (r. 713-756) Long serving emperor during the Tang Dynasty.

Han Gan:  (706-783) Tang Dynasty painter famous for his pictures of horses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *