I've been trying to translate some seal script on a small piece a friend brought back from Japan. I've been using http://www.guoxuedashi.com/ and hanziyuan.net to guess them and think I ended up with this:
line 1: 佗伴像水来是XX
line 2: 物叱水XX雲XX
Line 3: 佺東氣何

Can anyone assist with the characters, and with a translation?

Thanks so much,

Dom enter image description here

  • Great! Thanks for making an effort, normally people don’t :(
    – dROOOze
    Commented Dec 29, 2019 at 7:16
  • It was actually fun - I learnt Japanese and did calligraphy so am familiar with seal script and radicals in general. But some of them are hard work!
    – Dom
    Commented Dec 29, 2019 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


This is an incomplete text of the poem 《西江月・作伴修行未是》 by Yuan Dynasty poet 譚處端, produced verbatim from the image, detailed below:

The text is split into columns from right to left as on the image, with pauses inserted at「//」. Characters inside parentheses()indicate the modern equivalent.

  1. ⿰亻𠆦(作)伴修行未是 // 𩙞𩙞(飄飄)

  2. 物外行持 // 孤雲野鶴

  3. 任東㢴(西)// 何有些兒礙

  4. 滯 // 淡飯𢒫(尋)他兩頓 // 清

The rest of the poem is:

清淨淨無爲 //

寂寥瀟洒最相宜 //


My translation (roughly paraphrased):



The accompanying disciples' self-cultivating journey is incomplete, walking along the turbulent spiritual passages;


following the path of mysterious, recluse sages.


What is there to stop their journey?


Finding scarce meals, plain, simple, and natural,


the balance of tranquillity and aloofness


has a sweetness of its own.

  • quite strange, that the text is chopped after "清". and, the cloud patterns (雲紋) on the edge are slightly in different size :( Commented Dec 29, 2019 at 12:20
  • @水巷孑蠻 maybe its half of a two-part block...or maybe the craftsmanship just isn't that great :). Seal script writings tend to be subject to more mutilation because not many people can read them to tell that it's been cut off haha
    – dROOOze
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 1:13
  • Thanks for all of that Drooze! That's been very helpful :-)
    – Dom
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 11:33

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