October 12

A private viewing and handling session of a handscroll of the POEMS ON FALLING FLOWERS in running script by Shen Zhou

The Poems on Falling flowers are undisputedly the most well-known literary representation of Shen Zhou’s mastery as a poet, calligrapher and literati. Shen Zhou’s poems and the theme on falling flower was the origin of many scholars of the Wu school who composed countless poems after this subject. Shen Zhou initially composed ten poems on falling poems. After his student read the poems, including Wen Zhengming, wrote another set of poems on falling flowers to express their sentiments towards their teacher’s writing. Shen Zhou, after reading his student’s poem, further wrote another ten poems using the same rhyming scheme he used in the earlier ten poems. Later after his poems was circulated, a last set of ten poems were composed by Shen Zhou, making up a total of 30 original poems on Falling Flowers. In the Complete Works of Shen Zhou published after Shen Zhou’s death, there were total of fifty poems. This particular handscroll, 112 ¾ inches (286 cm) in length, includes 13 poems all from the original 30 poems composed by Shen Zhou, in his most iconic Huang Tingjian calligraphy style. This scroll was stored in Yuanjin temple, Qingpu of Jiangsu province during Ming dynasty, then subsequently collected by Wu Dacheng (1835-1902) and Wu Hufan (1894-1968), the grandfather and grandson, with their titleslips and Wu Hufan’s long inscription, this scroll was lastly collected by Yu’te tang in Taiwan. This work was also published in This Single Feather of Auspicious Light: Old Chinese Painting and Calligraphy by Paul Moss, and currently under research for more publications.

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