A Narrative on Calligraphy Treatise on Calligraphy Manual of Calligraphy 孫過庭 書譜 翻譯 英譯 Translation Pt. III - Vincent's Calligraphy

Go to content

Main menu:

Modelling and English Translation of Sun Guoting's "A Narrative on Calligraphy"
(Part III)

孫過庭 《書譜》臨習英譯 (部份)

by Kwan Sheung Vincent POON (潘君尚)  
Oct. 15, 2017
Published on www.vincentpoon.com, Toronto

A. Modelling (by KS Vincent POON)

A model of Sun Guoting's "A Narrative on Calligraphy" (Part III)
35  X  137cm (Sheet 3)
Click to Enlarge. In reserve, not available in Shop.
B. Historical Information
Please see Part I

C. Translation (by KS Vincent POON 潘君尚, with Chinese advisor Kwok Kin POON 潘國鍵, PhD.  Oct. 15, 2017)
Readers are strongly encouraged to read the blue numerical footnotes below to gain a better understanding of the original Chinese text and to review some major errors in the translations made by others.
English Translation
Original Chinese Text
Yet, for a gentleman to conduct himself properly in society, it is necessary for him to first refine and cultivate his own innate character.
55. 然君子立身,務修其本。
Yang Xiong (揚雄 53BC -18BC) once said poetries and songs are trivial and minor arts, and hence a strong and able adult should not spend time practicing them,
56. 揚雄謂詩賦小道,壯夫不為,
let alone additionally be obsessed with penmanship (豪釐, 34) and lose oneself in dedication to the world of calligraphy.
57. 況復溺思豪釐,淪精翰墨者也。
58. 夫潛神對奕,猶標坐隱之名;
and even taking pleasure in dedicating oneself to fishing in solitude (垂綸, 35) can allow one to experience the savors of being at peace with whatever the circumstances (行藏, 36).
59. 樂志垂綸,尚體行藏之趣。
Moreover, many do not realize that calligraphy (as a means to scribe) (詎若, 37)  has the merit of helping to revise the Rites and Music (禮樂, 38),
60. 詎若功定禮樂,
and is as marvelous as celestial beings;
61. 妙擬神仙;
it can have infinite variations (罔窮, 39) tantamount to the boundless changes created when a skilled potter is hand-kneading clays to make different potteries (挻埴, 40),
62. 猶挻埴之罔窮,
and [is a wonder] that is akin to (與, 41) the exquisite craftsmanship of an adept blacksmith who can work seamlessly with a furnace (or forge fire).
63. 與工鑪而並運。
For those who appreciate the wonders and marvels of calligraphy, they will often like to toy around with the shapes and manners of characters in many ways and directions;
64. 好異尚奇之士,翫體勢之多方;
for those who like to examine the art of calligraphy in extreme detail, they will be able to obtain the knowledge and the understanding of the profound and subtle implications (奧賾, 42) hidden within the variations (推移, 43) observed in calligraphy.
65. 窮微測妙之夫,得推移之奧賾。
Writers and critics often focus on the dregs of calligraphy (糟粕, 44) as a pretext [to belittling it] , but those who can truly appraise it will admire (挹, 45) the essence of the art.
66. 著述者假其糟粕,藻鑒者挹其菁華.
Hence, calligraphy is a culmination of the principles of righteousness (義理, 46), and so I believe those who are wise, talented and virtuous (賢達, 47) should be able to write good calligraphy as well.
67. 固義理之會歸,信賢達之兼善者矣。
Therefore, if one were to devote oneself towards preserving the essence of calligraphy while finding spiritual sustenance in appreciating the art of penmanship, how could such dedication be in vain!?
68. 存精寓賞,豈徒然與!?
© 2013-2018 www.vincentpoon.com all rights reserved
Copyright 2013-2018. All rights reserved. www.vincentpoon.com
Back to content | Back to main menu