Art and Photography

Can anyone translate this picture/painting? I think it's Chinese :)

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  • Aug 16th, 2016 7:20 pm
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Mar 16, 2007
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Scarborough

Can anyone translate this picture/painting? I think it's Chinese :)

Image
ImageNot sure exactly what it's purpose is, looks very old. My Aunt got it from her father, who won it at an auction in the States. What does it say?

Thanks guys! I promised I'd do my best :)
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First of all, a beautiful piece of art there.

Through a combination of Google Translate and asking some people who I know are fairly good with Chinese literature.

To set the context: in the Chinese language often 4 words are used almost in a single unit/sentence, since it sounds more euphonous. Example of units of meaning that are contained in 4 words include proverbs, imagery, literary titles...and even swear phrases :P.

Furthermore, antiquity Chinese is written right-to-left. In the painting, simplified Chinese it's "曲栏荷香" and in traditional Chinese it's "曲欄荷香"

Now, the latter two "荷香"...荷 is essentially an abridged version of 荷花 which is lotus flower, while 香 is "fragrant." So together "荷香" means "lotus fragrance"

"曲欄" is harder. 曲 is either "song" or "windy" but "欄" is an abridged version of "欄桿" which is a handrail. But in some literary works "曲欄" is used to refer to the twisty handrail of a winding bridge. Note on the bottom of the painting there's a bridge to a pagoda on a pond. This is probably what it's referring to.

To put it together then, "曲欄荷香" is the title of the piece. It probably refers to the depicted scene where the people are wandering on the footbridge on a summer day, savoring the scent and bloom of the water lotus flowers. (Another rendition of the scene can be seen here: https://world.taobao.com/item/757464086 ... 0.0.1Vnrop). See how Chinese uses very few words to evoke imagery?

The words "壬戌年" on the side is read top-down, and refers to the purported year of this work (https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%A3%AC%E6%88%8C)

The third line, 秋日仇英, I'm having difficulty with. 仇英 is a famous Chinese painter that lived 1494-1552. According to the year, this can only overlap with year 1502...when he's 8 years old?!?! He couldn't have possibly painted that then. Furthermore, if you google his name, none of works are the same as this.

The other (more likely) possibility is that "秋日仇英" is actually the pseudonym of a painter who wanted to evoke the famous painter's name, since this painting seems to be painted in his style. I guess in English, this may be akin to an artist themselves "Autunno da Vinci" or something like that. Note how "秋日仇英" is also using 4 words to keep that euphonous theme going.

According to the wiki link this can be 1982, 1922, 1862...(keep subtracting 60 years) although given the construction I doubt it's THAT ancient....?
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Wow thanks so much! It will really make their day. I've always liked it, I told them to never get rid of it, it's so different. Your explanation was very detailed, I'm curious about the year/artist though. I guess it's different than a simple 1982 or MCMLXXXII. It's a truly beautiful work, I knew it had something to do with Lotus, but I really like the idea of walking down a windy rail while the sweet fragrance of lotus catches your attention :) I've always wanted to visit rural China.

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