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I'm a postcrosser and deltiologist. A few days ago, I received a postcard from China. There was some Chinese text along with the artwork on the front side of the card:

front view of postcard

I tried the Google Instant Translate and this was the result I received:

result of google translate

So I asked the sender, whether he could translate it for me. And he told me that he is able to read it but don't know the meaning since it is written in Classical Chinese!

  • Could someone tell me the meaning of what's written there?
  • 1
    Note, the Google OCR of the picture is not accurate, and its translation is even less so. In general, text detection works badly on cursive or handwritten characters. – droooze Jun 23 '18 at 13:25
  • Yes, I know. And that's why I came here for help. @droooze – Clicker Jun 23 '18 at 13:29
  • Really don't think this is a good place to ask for such personal stuff – user19549 Jun 23 '18 at 13:52
  • @神秘德里克 Personal? – Clicker Jun 23 '18 at 14:01
  • isn't it a shame, that a "chinese" in "china" can't understand classical chinese texts? – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 23 '18 at 18:36
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the post card is a replication of a painting, which is in the palace museum (故宫博物院). imo, the quality is, unacceptable. here's a better image of the painting:

enter image description here

about the text, traditionally, one read from top to bottom, right to left. so, the rightest text are:

南刻京喬
宋畫口柯
諸之山急
公跡樓澗
皆為待唐
拜之風解
牀一觀元
下變六有
 洗如此
惲其卷景
壽勾筆因
平砍墨倣
 煥靈其
 然逸意
 神李 
 明唐 
 當  
 使  

it was written by the painter 惲壽平, as a "preface". the meaning of it, roughly is:

喬柯急澗

tall and bent (喬) branch [of tree] (柯), torrential (急) stream (澗)

used as the subject of the painting.

唐解元有此景因倣其意

"解元", "六如居士" were referred to 唐寅, a painter of ming dynasty.

mr 唐 (唐解元) had (有) this (此) scene (景, --> similar painting of 喬柯急澗), therefore (因) [ i ] simulate (倣) his (其) ideas (意)

京口山樓待風.觀六如卷

in 京口 (a place name), on a tower / building (樓) in the hills (山); waiting for (待) wind (風) [--> to cool off], read (觀) mr 唐's (六如) scroll (卷)

筆墨靈逸.李唐刻畫之跡.為之一變.洗其勾砍.煥然神明

the strokes (筆墨) were deft (靈), with leisure (逸). the trace (跡) of (之) stubborn (刻畫) of mr 李 (李唐, a painter of 宋 dynasty), changed significantly (為之一變). removed (洗) his (其) "strike out" (勾) [and] chop (砍); changed to (煥然) outstanding & bright (神明)

當使南宋諸公皆拜牀下

[which] should (當) make (使) painters (諸公) of the southern song dynasty (南宋), all (皆) bow (拜) under (下) [his] stand (牀, a variant of 床, which should be interpret as 安放器物的架子, not bed).

惲壽平

the painter's full name

then, the text on the left, was a poem written by the emperor 乾隆 :(

it was recorded in 御製詩三集 卷九十四, page 82:

https://archive.org/stream/06078952.cn#page/n81/mode/1up

即設澗喬
今使水柯
誰不籦嶰
識經籠壑
馬裁潄臨
融作趾急
才笛哀澗

well, poem should be interpret by oneself :)

have fun :)

anyone want to decipher the seals?

  • That's really a great info. Any English translation of the poem available online? @水巷孑蠻 – Clicker Jun 23 '18 at 18:29
  • i don't thinks there're. one need to understand what the quotations are, decipher the meanings, implications correctly, before making translation. btw, would you try your orc app, with my supplied image? – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 23 '18 at 18:32
  • Since this is some classical text, Google couldn't handle it. I tried. Got some weird translation! – Clicker Jun 23 '18 at 18:46
  • oops, not translation, i wonder if google can recognise individual characters, including variants :) – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 23 '18 at 18:50
  • Nope. Here is the result: imgur.com/SJAYDZq – Clicker Jun 23 '18 at 18:54
2

This paint is called 乔柯急涧, it's supposed to be made in 1675. Its author is 恽寿平, who lived from 1633 to 1690, late Ming and early Qing dynasties.

The 2nd part is the explanation about the paint, written by the author 恽寿平.

喬柯急澗唐解元有此景因傲其意京口山樓待風圈六如卷筆墨靈逸李唐刻晝之迹滿之一變洗其勾欣煥若神明當使南宋諸公皆拜床下憚壽平

It's explaining that the paint is pastiche from 唐寅 (唐解元), the artist of the Ming dynasty. From it we can get that 恽寿平 praised highly about the painting style of 唐寅.

The 1st part is the poem written by 乾隆, the emperor of the Qing dynasty. The paint was collected by him.

喬柯嶰壑臨急澗澗水籦籠潄趾哀設使不經裁作笛即今誰識馬融才

  • Thank you so much. Is the English translation of this poem available online? @songyuanyao – Clicker Jun 23 '18 at 15:05
  • @Clicker I tried but can't find any. I also tried to understand it by myself but failed. I can only get some keywords from it, like 馬融 and 笛 (flute). – songyuanyao Jun 23 '18 at 15:22
  • OK. In that case, let's wait for more answers. – Clicker Jun 23 '18 at 16:06
1

Well, let me try to explain the poem in Chinese and hope someone translate it into English :) There's no modern Chinese translation available on the internet because Emperor Qianlong wrote so many poems during his lifetime and most of the poems are mediocre from an aesthetic perspective and this is one of them.

喬柯嶰壑臨急澗澗水籦籠潄趾哀設使不經裁作笛即今誰識馬融才

釋義如下

喬柯嶰壑

地名罷了

臨急澗

依傍湍急的山澗(兩崖夾水而為澗)

籦籠

一種古書所載的竹子 可為笛

也即 漱 此作 沖刷解

足 此可能指 根基

傷感 悲哀

澗水籦籠潄趾哀

私以為作 澗水潄趾籦籠哀 為音韻之利易之 也即 水流沖刷著籦籠的根基令其哀傷 該句既為描景 亦是擬人籦籠 以引發頸尾兩聯抒懷之語

設使不經裁作笛 即今誰識馬融才

這兩句沒有疑難字 可以直截翻譯 假使沒有(為人)裁制為笛子 縱有馬融之才方今又有誰能識得呢? 馬融為東漢人 才高八斗 聞名當世 此句用典 為竹自比馬融之才 而嗟嘆於埋沒山嶺 無以為器 故天下不知

乾隆雖為皇帝 卻是以士子之心為詩 大略如此

  • Remark: Never copy and paste my answer In an instant translator... I find it that they can hardly handle almost any text beyond everyday language – Toosky Hierot Jun 25 '18 at 5:52

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