Deer Enclosure - Flowing Cursive Poetry Wall Scroll

Approximate Measurements

Artwork Panel: 31.6cm x 65.6cm  ≈  12½" x 25¾"

Silk/Brocade: 41cm x 125.5cm  ≈  16" x 49½"

Width at Wooden Knobs: 50cm  ≈  19¾"

Deer Enclosure - Flowing Cursive Poetry Wall Scroll close up view

Close up view of the artwork mounted to this silk brocade wall scroll

Deer in Brushwood
Deer Enclosure

By 王維 (Wang Wei) who lived 699–759 A.D.

This is a famous poem written during the Tang Dynasty some 1200 years ago.

The characters, romanization, and very-literal translation of each character...

Kōngshān bùjiàn rén, dàn wén rén yǔ xiǎng。
Fǎn jǐng rù shēnlín, fù zhào qīngtái shàng。
[empty] [mountain] [not] [see] [person], [yet] [hear] [person] [voice] [sound]。
[reflect] [sunlight] [enter] [deep] [forest], [again] [shine] [green] [moss] [on]。

Some Translations...

In the empty mountain, one does not see people, yet one hears the sound of human voice.
Reflected sunlight enters a deep forest, and comes to shine on luscious, green moss.

Remote the mountains, where no one is seen, Though human voices resound.
At dusk, reflected sunlight enters the forest deep. Once again setting the green moss aglow.

Note: 青 [green] can be more than "green" in this context. It often refers to youth and vitality. The green moss can also represent the coming or return of youth.

About this poem...

This is perhaps the most famous poem by poet Wang Wei (相思 "One-Hearted" is a close second). More than a poet, Wang Wei was also a musician, artist, and statesman.

About the calligraphy style...

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.

About the artist...

Xu Xueqin

Calligraphy artist Xu Xue-Qin practicing his art

The artist's name is 許 學 勤 (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.


World of Weiqi

Xu Xue-Qin's work featured on the front cover
of The World of Weiqi magazine.

Xu Xueqin's certificate

About the calligraphy artwork...

The calligraphy 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 mulberry or blue sandalwood (tara wing-celtis) tree pulp.