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A Painting of Autumn Mountain by Wu Bin

The Ming dynasty painter, Wu Bin 吳彬 (ca. 1543-1626), wrote the poem below as a colophon on a painting entitled, A painting of Autumn Mountain. The poem celebrates the simple pleasures of meeting with friends in autumn to chant poems and prepare and drink tea while enjoying the beautiful music of the guqin 古琴, the seven-string Chinese zither. The poem suggests that the friends who gather to share these activities, free from the dust of the mundane world, can generate for each other an almost hypnotic state of peace and pleasure.


Qiū shān tú

A painting of Autumn Mountain


cǎogé wú chén, qiū zhèng shēn,

In a thatched pavilion, free of dust, deep in autumn,


Kè lái kuānzuò qié xián yín.

guests come and sit at leisure, chanting.


Zhǔ chá, xuànsǎo shān jiàn yè,

To make the tea, swirl and whisk the leaves from the mountains,


​​​Shíyǒu liúquǎn shù yù qín.

And sometimes a spring will flow from the jade zither.

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