Monday, April 2, 2018

A Ming Dynasty Qin player - Yang Jijing 楊季靜

Saturday, March 31, 2018 at Bard College 9:30 am - 4:30 pm, I attended the Conference - Harmony And Power: The Role of Music in the Cultivation of the Literati in Ancient China

The last talk was presented by a qin friend, Mr. Yang Yuanzheng, from University of Hong Kong (Music).

His talk was:
An Artist and His Patrons:
Qin Player Yang Jijing and the Cultural Elite in Early 16th-Century Suzhou

I almost recorded all the talk with my sound recorder, unfortunately the chip was full before the last two talks. Therefore, I can only use some photos I took and something I found on-line to help me to recall the talk about the artist Yang Jijing 
(ca. 1477–after 1530).

Different from other talks, Yang Yuanzheng chose one specific qin player's case to study. This qin player is Yang Jijing. Yang Jijing was a professional qin player who knew many famous artists, such as Tang Yin, Wen Zhengming, and Zhu Yunming etc. Yang Jijing's life wasn't too smooth through the end. He failed to find a position in a government bureau. His qin life at the beginning seemed doing well, but later it has some money issues. Fortunately he knew many famous people, they appreciated his artistic talent and either painted him or collectively wrote praises, which are now still surviving and are collected in museums. Through those paintings and colophons, one can imagine who Yang Jijing was and what his life might have been like. 

明 祝允明 題楊季靜小像贊 卷 (台北故宮)

 明 唐寅 琴士圖 (台北故宮) The Qin Player Scroll (Taipei Palace Museum)

此pdf 論文對琴士圖做了很詳細的繪畫內容, 裡面所呈現的器物等等之解說.

[琴士圖]上的提字可依稀了解楊季靜, 這位窮有一身琴藝, 並與當時許多傑出的文人雅士結交, 卻始終仕途抱負難以伸展的一位琴人.   楊元錚先生做了翻譯:

 translated by Yang Yuanzheng
In the ancient state of Lu, there was once someone by the name of Master Musician Shi Xiang, about whom nothing now could be discovered, were it not for the fact that Confucius himself once learnt to play the qin from him, so his name has resounded through history up to the present day. Casting an eye around the scholarly community of Suzhou, I see from the extent they praise [Yang] Jijing that his name will live on. The grand historian [Sima Qian] states: "Ordinary people of the highways and byways, if they don't attach themselves to the great and the good, how can they hope that memory of them will be preserved for posterity." I firmly believe in this.
Zhu Xing's colophon to The Qin Player Scroll (c.1521) - translated by Yang Yuanzheng

明 唐寅 《南游圖》 卷 (at Freer Sackler Gallary)

Traveling South

Painting: Traveling Toward a Bright Future

Translated by Yang Yuanzheng

Translated by Yang Yuanzheng
Zhiyin 知音 : boon companion 

On the river, springtime breezes blow the tender elms I clasp my zither and see you off trailing long robes If someone you encounter should appreciate your music Cut some reeds where you are and build yourself a hut
Xi Kang long ago performed the Melody of Guangling Quiet for a thousand years its tonalities are lost Today I have traveled to this place to see you off That we may look for its tablature in the handbook. 
- quote from Freer Sackler gallary's website.

Wen Zhengming's colophon to A Picture of The Southern Journey
Translated by Yang Yuanzheng
Wen Zhengming's colophon translation from Freer Sackler gallary's website.
I knew the Old Man Who Guarded His Simplicity
Sincere and true, an upright gentleman of old;
His whole life spent with a seven-foot zither
In clear tones, he sketched the "Flowing Water."
Easy and serene never frivolous in substance
He quite knew the fingering for every sound;
He could have passed this on to several sons
But Ji it was whose heart alone matched well.
To him the ancient melodies were truly passed
His surplus skill expresses their innate mood;
But how shall his art alone be called refined?
He cultivates himself as his father did before.
In the past among those famous for the zither
There was once in Yue a master named Liu Hong;
But the Zither Liu whom we have here in Suzhou
Came in fact from this old father and his son.
With the passing of a scant few sixty years
The whole tradition now belongs to Master Ji;
Sorry that so few here understand his music
He packs his zither and sets off a thousand li.
Moling was a famous capital in ancient times
Go, go, surely you will find reception there;
Sonorously strum forth that unique music
Wash their ears entirely of cittern and guitar.

Qian Tongai's colophon translation
 from Freer Sackler gallary's website (line 1-4):
Jinling in the Third Month and spring is not yet ended
Eager to see the country you mount your figured saddle
Singing girls call for wine at the Willow Blossom Café
Ferry passengers thump the sterns at Peach Leaf Rapids
A noble melody that will not be extirpated on Zhongsan's [i e., Ji Kang's] death
The hui sounding nodes are played for the sake of [Zhong] Ziqi
Qian Tongai's (1475-1549) colophon to A Picture of the Southern Journey. 
-- (line 5-7) translated by Yang Yuanzheng

One of Yang Jijing's rich friends wants to hire Yang Jijing to play for him.

Yang Jijing's response.


Yang Yuanzheng's translation

Should we use Zhi an's summary name or not? Please indicate. Your humble servant is, on the fourth day of the fifth month, hoping to visit his home in the countryside. So in order to make this business happen, it would be best for it to take place tomorrow or the next day, or first passing across the four objects would, perhaps, be imperative.  Written in extreme haste [Zhu] Yunming sends his worshipful regards. To kind brother [Yang] Jijing -- translated by Yang Yuanzheng

Yang Yuanzheng and Peiyou
photo was taken at the yaji, the evening before the conference.
(my white hairs reflecting pretty well... oh well...last time met Yuanzheng was 12 years ago in NYC at one of NYQS's yaji. And I was wearing the same jacket.)

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