The brush pot inscribed with a poem by the Qianlong emperor, inscribed by Liang Shizheng (1697-1763).
Liang Shizheng was a man of letters who held impressive positions, Chancellor of the Imperial Hanlin Academy, Grand Secretary of the Court Council and Grand Tutor of the Heir Apparent.
Translation of the poem by the Qianlong Emperor, inscribed on the brush pot by Liang Shizheng:
A thousand feet of snow in Cold Mountain,
From it extend branches, linking it to other ranges.
At the base of the mountain is a cold spring,
Bubbling and singing as it flows along,
Much like pearls and jade beads falling and splashing.
The locals have so many tales about the water’s origins,
It would be impossible to recount them all.
While riding my horse in search of wild orchids, I stopped,
Mountains and water truly were my good companion.
Away from official work, I am a curious explorer.
Watching a waterfall ten thousand feet high plunge into a deep hollow beneath me,
And spring water from a hundred thousand feet above glide through soft snow one thousand feet below,
I proposed the same Snowy Valley be inscribed here,
To be appreciated by many generations to come.
Borrowing inspiration from Wu Meicun:
The serenity of the studio
Cleansed my ten thousand worries and thoughts.
The events of life
Settling like poems at their own ease.
The fragrance of prunus filled the snowy air,
And the colour of its blossoms were reflected in water,
While the tunes of nature
Sand across the rich, fertile fields.
Deep in meditation,
I contemplated the profound emptiness.
Respectfully inscribed by your humble subject, Liang Shizheng.
Literature: ‘Treasures of the Chinese Scholar’, Gan Jing Pei (New York & Tokyo), p. 40-41, illustrated p. 41.