Artwork Panel: 31.6cm x 98.6cm ≈ 12½" x 38¾"
Silk/Brocade: 40.7cm x 159cm ≈ 16" x 62½"
Width at Wooden Knobs: 49.7cm ≈ 19½"
Close up view of the calligraphy artwork mounted to this silk brocade wall scroll
By Wang Zhi-Huan (688-742 A.D.)
This is a special kind of classic poem style of Ancient China. The feel is halfway between a spoken-word poem and a song. It's a bit free-form compared to the more typical regimented Chinese poetry. Here is the translation:
The Yellow River reaches high beyond clouds;
Amid great mountains lay solemn silver cast of a town.
Flute plays Willow Song wailing forth, but why?
The spring wind passes not the Jade Gate.
In modern times, Liangzhou is known as Wuwei. This is a city on the edge of the desert in western Gansu province.
Willow Song: A sad melody traditionally played when departing company. As a token of how much they would be missed, willow branches are presented to those about to leave on the journey.
The Jade Gate Pass: This was the gateway to Central Asia. It is an unlikely place for a good bye, or willow branches.
This style of calligraphy is a flowing caoshu. The word cao means "grass" and shu means "script" or "writing". In English, this is often translated as "cursive". In this style, each character flows into the next. Instead of distinct strokes as seen with more conventional characters, you'll see just one almost-continuous stroke. Because of the special cursive nature, many Chinese people probably can't read this poem without some hints or help.
Calligraphy artist Xu Xue-Qin practicing his art
The artist's name is (Xu Xue-Qin) of Jia Shan, which is in Zhenjiang Province of Southern China. He currently works as a school teacher in Jia Shan. Along with teaching, writing calligraphy is his passion.
Xu Xue-Qin is far beyond a hobbyist calligrapher. His calligraphy has been awarded and certified for its quality (see certificate below from a nation-wide calligraphy competition, May 2010). His calligraphy was also chosen for the cover of a widely-read magazine, The World of Weiqi. His calligraphy is also featured in calligraphy textbooks. On weekends and evenings, he can be found teaching calligraphy at a local art school.
Note: I do have a bit of guanxi with this calligrapher which allows me to offer his work to you at a very special price. He happens to be my wife's uncle.
Xu Xue-Qin's work featured on the front cover
of The World of Weiqi magazine.
The artwork was painted on Chinese xuan paper (known incorrectly as "rice paper" in the west). This is a high-quality handmade paper which is based on mostly cotton pulp.
This artwork was taken to our workshop in Beijing where we mounted it as a nice two-toned silk brocade wall scroll. We use more xuan paper, silk brocade, brass hardware, wood, other paper products, and our specially-made solid-wood knobs to build our wall scrolls.