Cheng at work.
Penang-born Cheng Haw Chien is a recognised master of the Chinese brush, with works hanging permanently in major galleries and museums. Despite being an eager traveller, his art pieces express rootedness.
Up to your crown, O Willow, dressed in the greens of jade Myriads of twigs so verdant, droop like your silken braids Who knows by whose design, your leaves are cut so fine? It’s the vernal winds past February, like the scissors’ cutting blades.
This jueju quatrain from An Ode To the Willow by Tang poet He Zhizhang (659- 744), which was translated by Huang Hongfa, captures the wispy melancholia of the willow – a symbol of parting and a woman’s svelte figure and touch, yet something that offers shade and comfort in the loneliness of old age.
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