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Illustrations for the qin melody Yu Ge (Fisherman's Song) 漁歌圖
A long scroll by
Bai Yunli

This long scroll, "Fisherman's Song" (Yu Ge Tu), was inspired by a Yuan dynasty scroll painting called "The Fisherman" (Yufu Tu) by Wu Zhen (1280-1354). There are at least three copies claiming to be the original of this painting, in Washington, Shanghai and Beijing;1 the scroll linked below is specifically based on the one in the Freer Gallery, Washington, D.C., but as copied in Masterpieces of Chinese Painting Overseas (see III/56).

Here the 18 inscriptions on Bai Yunli's long scroll correspond with the 18 titles of the standard tuning Yu Ge as published in Xilutang Qintong (1525). They replace the 16 poems (also one next to each figure) on the Freer Gallery scroll.2 The titles of the standard tuning qin melody Yu Ge correspond, in order, with:

Illustrations 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Title page of the Yu Ge scroll

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Wu Zhen (1280-1354): The Fisherman (吳鎮,漁父圖 Yufu Tu)
吳鎮,字仲圭。號梅花道人 Wu Zhen, courtesy name Zhonggui, nickname Meihua Daoren (see Wikipedia) was one of the most famous Yuan dynasty painters (one of the Four Masters of the Yuan).

The three known paintings called "The Fisherman" that have been attributed to Wu Zhen are:

  1. In the Freer Gallery, Washington, D.C. (q.v.; 15 fishing boats, 16 fishermen)
  2. In the Shanghai Museum (see on their website?; 15 fishing boats, 14 fishermen).
  3. In the Palace Museum, Beijing (see on their website?; no detail).

This claim for three museum versions comes from the website www.shuge.org. I have not been able to find images on the Shanghai or Beijing museum websites, but the shuge.com website (as of 2023) had some comparison of the three versions. It quotes a source that suggests the following:

  1. The Freer version is actually 仿荆浩吳鎮 by Wu Zhen in the style of Jing Hao (c. 855–915; Wiki)
  2. The Shanghai version apparently makes a connection with 柳宗元 Liu Zongyuan (773 - 819), but I am not sure if this is perhaps referring to his poem Song of the Fisherman.
  3. The Palace Museum Beijing: incomplete? See, e.g., here

In other words, information on this is not yet clear to me.

Meanwhile, the image below (expand) is copied here in case its address, too, changes or it goes off line.

2. Inscriptions on the original Wu Zhen painting
These are all poems in the form 7 7 3+3 7. Here they are copied from this webpage, which seems in places to add some comparative commentary.

  1. 洞庭湖上晚風生,風觸湖心一葉橫,蘭桌穩,草衣輕,只釣鱸魚不釣名。

  2. 重整絲綸欲桌船,江頭明月正明圓,酒缾倒,草花懸,拋卻漁竿踏月眠。

  3. 殘陽浦里漾魚船,青草湖中欲暮天,看白鳥,下平川,點破瀟湘萬里煙。

  4. 如何小小作絲綸,祗向湖中養一身,任公子,龍伯人,枉釣如山截海鱗。

  5. 極浦遙看兩岸斜,碧波微影弄晴霞,孤舟小,去無涯,[阿]那箇汀洲[是]下是家

  6. 雪色鬚鬚一老翁,能將短桌撥長空,微有雨,正無風,宜在五湖煙水中。

  7. 綠楊灣里夕陽微,萬里霞光浸落暉,擊桌去,未能歸,驚起沙鷗撲鹿飛。

  8. 月移山影照漁船,船載山行月在前,山突兀,月嬋娟,一曲漁歌山月連。無船。

  9. 風攪長江浪攪風,魚龍混雜一川中,藏深浦,繫長松,直待雲收月在[中]空。

  10. 舴艋為舟力幾多,江頭雲雨半相和,殷勤好,下長波,半夜潮生不那何。

  11. 殘霞返照四山明,雲起雲收陰復晴,風腳動,浪頭生,聽取虛蓬夜雨聲。

  12. 無端垂釣定潭心,魚大船輕力不任,憂傾側,繫浮沈,事事從輕不要深。

  13. 釣得紅鱗拽水開,錦鱗敤較逐鈎來,搖赬尾,噞紅腮,不羨嚴陵坐釣台。

  14. 五嶺風光絕四隣,滿川鳧鴈是交親,雲觸岸,浪搖身,青草煙深不見人。

  15. 舴艋舟人無姓名,葫蘆提酒樂平生,香稻飯,滑蓴羹,桌月穿雲任性情。

  16. 桃花波起五湖春,一葉隨風萬里身,釣絲細,香餌均,元來不是取魚人。
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