Song of Pipa

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Song of Pipa (琵琶行)

Wen Zhengming (文徵明, 1470-1559), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Handscroll, Painting, ink and colors on silk, 29.2 x 153.6 cm; Calligraphy, ink on paper, 29.2 x 196.2 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei

       The calligraphy is the famous "Song of Pipa" by the Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi (白居易, 772-846). The pipa is a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, sometimes called the Chinese flute. The song describes an encounter with a female pipa player on the Yangtze river, whose tragic life story resonated with the sorrow of Bai Juyi and his friends. The painting is also based on this.

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Wen Zhengming: Song of Pipa