Please could someone translate / explain what this means? It is on the side of a teapot from Hong Kong. I understand that it may be explaining it's origin and not mean anything by itself, but any help would be fantastic.

teapot inscription

1 Answer 1



  • 綠衣(green clothes)

  • 初發 (first start)

  • 江南春 (Jiangnan's spring)

The land begin to put on green clothes (refers to the landscape is starting to cover with spring plants) indicates it is Jiangnan's early spring


  • 遠浦 (faraway port)

  • 輕帆 (light sail = small boat)

  • 萬里程 (ten thousand miles journey = very long journey)

At a faraway port, in a small boat, embark on a long journey

If it was a 七言绝句 (seven-character quatrains), there would be two more verses in it. It looks more like a 對聯 (couplet) as it is now

Note: a small boat is not capable of long-distance sea-going. This long journey is most likely on a river

  • Definitely NOT a couplet 對聯. The parts of speech do not match.
    – monalisa
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 21:36
  • let's try to make it one. how about 青衫遲慕故國秋
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 23:48
  • Sorry to be picky, but 江南 / 故國 there's still some room for improvement. Also, 遲慕? 遲暮?
    – monalisa
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 1:00
  • how about 綠衣初發江南春; 青衫遲暮宋國秋
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 1:24
  • 1
    平仄不叶。Not to be picky but, among others,「春」and「秋」have the same tone. It doesn't follow the rule, which is 仄起平落. According to the rule, 春 can only be used in the second half, not the first half, of the couplet. So, as it is, there is no way you can make a couplet out of it.
    – joehua
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 2:49

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