‘Black Tigers’ (hei laohu 黑老虎)

Duncan M. Campbell A review of Kenneth Starr, Black Tigers: A Grammar of Chinese Rubbings, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2008, 280pp., with illustrations & photographs. As a youth whenever I viewed an ink rubbing of Orchid Pavilion, depicting the marvellous steepness of the surrounding cliffs and peaks, the lofty height of the pavilion and the gazebo, the meander with its flowing wine cups, the bathing geese and the inkstones being washed, the very moment I began to unfurl the scroll I would find myself, irresistibly and immediately, transported in spirit to the very spot itself.… Read

Yuan Hongdao 袁宏道 at Orchid Pavilion 蘭亭

Duncan M. Campbell In an earlier issue of China Heritage Quarterly (Issue 17, March 2009), I discussed a proposed anthology of literary representations of Orchid Pavilion; this present translation contributes to this ongoing project by presenting for English readers a text written seventy-odd years earlier than the one translated in that issue.… Read

Literary Representations

Duncan M. Campbell Twice during his long life, in 1613 and then again in 1673, the late-Ming dynasty historian and essayist Zhang Dai 張岱 (1597-?1689) visited the site of Orchid Pavilion 蘭亭, some eleven kilometers south-west of Guiji 會稽 (present-day Shaoxing 紹興; Guiji is now pronounced Huiji, although another reading is Kuaiji) in Zhejiang Province, to mark the occasion of the cyclical anniversary of that day in 353 when Wang Xizhi 王羲之 (309-c.365), the greatest of Chinese calligraphers, wrote his ‘Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Poems’ 蘭亭集序.… Read

Orchid Pavilion

蘭亭 But I fear that as the years slip by one after the other even the mountains and rivers rise and fall; as one age gives over to the next, it is only with brush and ink that we can seek to preserve our melancholy.… Read