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Calligraphy translation request

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jd thomas

Thanks very much for the reply, Mandarincave.


I should have included more background info with my original post, but I was in a hurry and just wanted to get it on here to start... In college, I was studying Japanese language and East Asian studies, and a professor from Hangzhou came over during the summer to I think do some research and he brought his brother along.  The brother was an artist, and he taught a several-week summer school calligraphy course, which I took.  It was my first time studying brush painting, Japanese or Chinese, and it was very enjoyable.  He didn't speak much English, and I seem to remember some assistant there helping to explain things.  Anyway, at the end of the course, I decided to ask the instructor if he would write a passage from one of the practice books we were using to copy our characters from.  He said that those passages would be kind of childish, like a nursery rhyme, and he would do something different for me.  He had taught us the four/five different writing styles, and asked me which I liked best.  I chose Li Shu style - it was the one I most enjoyed doing (I've read that Li Shu is generally regarded as the easiest for beginners to learn), and I thought it looked the coolest.  So several days later, the last day of class, he presented this to me, and I was surprised.  I didn't expect him to actually produce a work of art for me, with his seals and everything, I just wanted a sample of well done characters to take with me and to remember the experience of taking the class.  It was incredible of him to do that.  I believe he explained that it meant "Longevity and Health", as I have that noted (and I also know those characters in Japanese), so I did know that much.  But I've had it stored away for a long time, and looking at it now, I have some more detailed questions.


First, regarding the middle character...in Japanese, the character 而 exists, meaning "additionally", but it is rarely written.  Am I correct that this is the middle character, or is it some other character altogether?  And does it mean just "and" in Chinese?  I guess if so, my next question would be, is it odd to have a simple, mundane word like "and" on a bold, three-character work of art like this?  To me, it seems a little strange, like if doing three characters, you might choose three characters with strong individual meanings, such as 寿福康 or 寿喜康 or something.  But maybe this is completely normal.


Next, the upper right, I believe this is 庚午, the year 1990, which is in fact when this was done.  And below that, 夏日, summer day, which would make sense as this was during that summer.  Now, the upper right seal, is that a date seal?  Is it 3 characters?  I can kind of see the first two being the same 庚午 that is written below, but I cannot make out the bottom character.  Or maybe it is not a date seal, and something else altogether?


And finally, the lower left, the artist's name 王重為, Wang ZhongWei, correct?  And below it, 書, meaning his written work.  The lower left seal is his name seal, 王 is the upper right character, 重為 are the upper left and lower left characters, but what is the lower right character?  It's not 書, is it?


So if anyone can answer my additional questions, I would really appreciate it.

chinese calligraphy seal01b.jpg

chinese calligraphy seal02b.jpg

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For the first question,  it comes from two sentences in a poem in Tang Dynasty 

‘饮且食兮寿而康,无不足兮奚所望‘, meaning got foods to eat, drinks to drink, having longevity and good health and nothing in short, still have any additional wishes?


For the second question, a stamp on the top right hand corner is a 引首章, usually can be the academy name of the writer, the year or month the piece of work is written, or some emotional expression of the writer.  Apology that I am not knowledgeable enough to recognize the three characters. Guess the second character is 于.


For third question, it is 印, meaning stamped by / stamp of 王重為.

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jd thomas

OK, thankyou again for the followup answers, Mandarincave!  Getting closer to a fuller understanding of this.  So writing 寿而康 out in pinyin would be shòu ér kāng, correct?

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