Huang T'ing-chien's Verse on Narcissi in Running Script
Liu Yung never tired of
reading and writing works of poetry by the masters. Good poetry can not
only be read over and over, but can also leave an even deeper impression
when transcribed in calligraphy (which also improves in the process).
Perhaps for this reason, Liu Yung did not distinguish his lessons in poetry
from those in calligraphy. This hanging scroll is an example of such.
It is a transcription of Huang T'ing-chien's verse on narcissus blossoms
composed of eight lines with seven characters each. The narcissus is a
plant praised for the purity of its blossoms and subtle fragrance, and
it became a metaphor for the ideals of the scholar in Chinese thought.
It is also admired for its ability to bloom in the cold of early spring,
thus being a symbol of endurance in times of difficulties. Liu Yung particularly
enjoyed this poem and praised Huang's study of the T'ang poet Tu Fu. Liu
himself was also a poet, so he had a better appreciation than most for
the feelings of other poets. From our point of view, however, we can appreciate
the ideal complement of Liu Yung's calligraphy and Huang T'ing-chien's