A Narrative on Calligraphy Treatise on Calligraphy Manual of Calligraphy 孫過庭 書譜 翻譯 英譯 Translation Pt. IV - Vincent's Calligraphy

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Modelling and English Translation of Sun Guoting's "A Narrative on Calligraphy"
(Part IV)

孫過庭 《書譜》臨習英譯 (部份)

by Kwan Sheung Vincent POON (潘君尚)  
Nov. 1, 2017
Published on www.vincentpoon.com, Toronto

A. Modelling (by KS Vincent POON)



A model of Sun Guoting's "A Narrative on Calligraphy" (Part IV)
孫過庭《書譜》(第部份)
35  X  137cm (Sheet 3 and Sheet 4)
Click to Enlarge. In reserve, not available in Shop.
B. Historical Information
Please see Part I

C. Translation (by KS Vincent POON with Chinese advisor Kwok Kin POON, PhD.  Nov.1, 2017)
Readers are strongly encouraged to read the blue numerical footnotes below to gain a better understanding of the original Chinese text and to review some major errors in the translations made by others.
Original Chinese Text
English Translation
69. 而東晉士人,互相陶淬(染?)。
Moreover, the gentries and intellects of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420AD) had influenced and cultivated each other amongst themselves [in the art of calligraphy].
70. 至於王、謝之族,郗、庾之倫,縱不盡其神奇,咸亦挹其風味。
In regard to the clans of Wang (王) and Xie (謝) as well as the likes of Xi (郗) and Yu (庾) (48), although they had not fully exhibit the wonders of calligraphy, they all nonetheless were able to pick up and attain the distinct artistic flavors cherished in the art.   
71.去之滋永,斯道逾微。
As time progresses further away from the Eastern Jin, however, the more decline we see in the art of calligraphy.
72.方復聞疑稱疑,得末行末。
Furthermore, calligraphers later began the practice of listening to dubious claims regarding the art and praised (稱, 49) them [without questioning]; and when they learned some trivial techniques (末, 50), they applied them passionately to their calligraphy [without scrutiny].
73.古今阻絕,無所質問。
Eventually, the succession of the artistry from the past to present is then blocked and insulated, and no one is able to seriously ask any question in detail.
74.設有所會,緘祕已深。
Even if one were to somehow come into realization of something profound and important, one would generally hide and conceal (緘, 51) it deeply within oneself and not share it with anyone.
75.遂令學者茫然,莫知領要。
All these factors consequently cause learners to be at a loss and without truly knowing the essence of the art.
76.徒見成功之美,不悟所致之由;
They can only see the beauties of the accomplished but fail to understand the reasons that bring about them;
77.或乃就分布於累年,向規矩而猶遠。
or some have spent numerous years studying the layouts and structures [within and among characters of calligraphic works], but their penmanship is still quite far from following the established rules in writing calligraphy.    
78.圖真不悟,習草將迷。
As they model (圖, 52) standard script, they cannot come to an understanding of it; when they practice cursive script, they are puzzled by it.
79.假令薄解草書,粗傳隸法,則好溺偏固,自闕通規。
Even if one were to have a sketchy comprehension of the cursive script and a scant conveyance of the standard script (隸, 53), one would still nonetheless like to be indulged in their own stubbornly held prejudice, making one isolated by oneself (自闕, 54) from the established tenets of calligraphy (通規, 55).
80.詎知心手會歸,若同源而異派;
Who knew that the art is actually a culmination of intelligence and dexterity like different water streams originating from one river source,
81.轉用之術,猶共樹而分條者乎?
while the different techniques in turning and moving the brush are like wood branches growing out of the same tree?
82.加以趨變(?)適時,行書為要;
Moreover, for general usage that changes with the times(趨變? 56), writing in semi-cursive script is more appropriate(為要, 57);
83.題勒方畐,真乃居先。
for titling books (or documents) and inscribing steles that have format restraints  (題勒方畐, 58), penning in standard script is most preferable.
84.草不兼真,殆於專謹;
If one were to write cursive script without mastering the techniques in penning the standard script, then the outcome would have the shortcoming of being too dull and monotonous; (59)
85.真不通草,殊非翰札。
on the other hand, if one were to pen standard script with no proficiency in writing the cursive script, then the end result could not be considered as Han Zha (翰札, which refers to writing letters with lively penmanship).(60)
86.真以點畫為形質,使轉為情性;
Standard script relies on dots and strokes to define its physical form, while moving the brush (使, 61) and turning it in concert (轉, 62) give rise to its vitality, manner and aesthetic flavor (情性, 63);
87. 草以點畫為情性,使轉為形質。
by contrast, cursive script relies on dots and strokes to bring about its vitality, manner and aesthetic flavor, while moving the brush and turning it in concert determine its physical form.
88.草乖使轉,不能成字;
Writing cursive script without properly moving the brush and turning it in concert will result in not forming characters at all;
89.真虧點畫,猶可記文:
while writing standard script with imperfect dots and strokes can still serve to record texts.
90. 迴互雖殊,大體相涉。
Although the dynamics (迴互, 64) of the two scripts are different, they are still more or less related to each other in their artistries.
91.故亦傍通二篆,俯貫八分,
Consequently, one should also have a good knowledge and command of other areas, such as the two seal scripts (二篆, 65), and exert effort on studying the ba-fen (八分 clerical script, 66),
92.包括篇章,涵泳飛白。
as well as pay attention to zhangcao (“篇章” refers to “章草”, an earlier form of cursive script which is based on the clerical script, 67) and immerse oneself in the practice of using fei-ba (飛白, a calligraphic technique whereby the brush is only semi-wet with ink to create black brushstrokes that have white spaces randomly dispersed within them, 68).  
93.若豪氂不察,則胡、越殊風者焉。
If one does not observe these very fine details, then the resulting outcome will be extremely far from ideal – as far and disparate as the customs of the North and South which are completely isolated from each other (胡越).(69)

END OF PART IV (Nov. 1, 2017)

BACK TO PART III     PROCEED TO PART V (Will be uploaded in due course)
 
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