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We have recently received this vase as a gift from a business partner. I am very curious what this text on it means but am not in a position to ask them.

I wasn't able to use Google Translate (probably because it is handwriting) on it and I don't know anyone who speaks chinese. Could somebody here translate it for me please!

Thank you! Vase

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1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The text is read from top to bottom, right to left.

First two columns:

香遠溢清

Which means As the aroma (of the flower, referring in particular to the lotus) goes further, it becomes more and more pure and fresh. BTW, the artist mistakes 益(more and more) for 溢(overflow, spill). These two characters sound the same in Chinese. Maybe the artist was intentional, to express a different feeling from the original author of this phrase.

This phrase originates from Song Dynasty's litterateur 周敦頤's essay 愛蓮說 (Ode to the Lotus Flower).

水陸草木之花,可愛者甚蕃。晉陶淵明獨愛菊;自李唐來,世人盛愛牡丹;予獨愛蓮之出淤泥而不染,濯清漣而不妖,中通外直,不蔓不枝, 香遠益清 ,亭亭靜植,可遠觀而不可褻玩焉。予謂菊,花之隱逸者也;牡丹,花之富貴者也;蓮,花之君子者也。噫!菊之愛,陶後鮮有聞;蓮之愛,同予者何人;牡丹之愛,宜乎眾矣。

This essay is to praise the noble and unsullied characteristic of the lotus. So in Chinese culture, lotus flowers are often compared to gentlemen.

The left text:

癸巳年 彭湘龍 作於景德鎮一品畫苑

This is the artist's inscription.

  • 癸巳年 is the year. It is 2013, according to the context.

  • 彭湘龍 is the artist's name, Peng Xianglong.

  • 作於景德鎮一品畫苑. Finished in 一品畫苑(the studio's name), 景德鎮(Jingdezhen Town, a town that is called Porcelain Capital. It is very very famous.)

EDIT enter image description here

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Thanks for the fast, detailed reply! –  Andris Jun 17 '13 at 13:10
    
@Andris: you're welcome :-) –  Stan Jun 17 '13 at 13:16
    
@Stan In the third line of 愛蓮說 you quoted, I think it should be 陶後鮮有聞 instead of 陶后鮮有聞. –  johnchen902 Jun 27 '13 at 11:38
    
@johnchen902: you're right :) I've fixed it. Thanks! –  Stan Jun 27 '13 at 12:42
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