Wang Zai’s Painting of Landscape
He spends five days to paint a stone
And ten to paint a stream alone.
He will not work when pressed,
So of his work we are deeply impressed.
How lofty mountains undulate from east to west!
The wall on which the picture hangs is blessed.
Water flows from Western mountains to Eastern Bay
Until it joins the Milky Way.
Waves rise like clouds with which the flying dragons play.
The frightened fishermen run far away,
All mountain forests bend to stormy sway.
He can paint landscape far and near:
On a foot of silk miles of hills appear.
Where could I get the sharpest scissor blade
To cut the scroll and make a river of white jade?
The poem “Wang Zai’s Painting of Landscape” is a poem about a painting composed by Du Fu, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The poem was written during the poet’s settlement in Chengdu. The first four lines strongly praise the serious and meticulous attitude of the painter Wang Zai; the middle five lines describe the magnificent water on the picture, with the majestic mountains in between, and the ink and brushwork are full of splendor; the last six lines further comment on Wang Zai’s unparalleled painting skills. The whole poem is written in a lively and spontaneous manner, and the poetic feelings and paintings are integrated into one, and the combination of poetry and painting is so seamless that it has always been praised.