Friday, January 8, 2016

In the soil:
Cinnabar, azurite, ocher, white clay,
Orpiment, milky quartz,
Tin, prase, gold, and silver,
In manifold hues glisten and glitter,
Shining and sparkling like dragon scales.
Of stones there are:
Red jade, rose stone,
Orbed jades, vulcan stone,
Aculith, dark polishing stone,
Quartz, and the warrior rock.
Excerpt from "Fu on the Imperial Park", Sima Xiangru (c. 135 BC

A marvelous bird from the Western Regions,
   manifests a wondrous natural beauty.
It embodies the sublime substance of the metal essence,
   embodies the shining brilliance of fire's power.
Gifted with wit and acuity, it is able to speak;
   intelligent and bright, it can perceive the imperceptible.
Thus, it plays and sports on lofty peaks,
   nests and perches in secluded vales.
Whenever it flies, it does not land at random;
   wherever it soars, it is sure to choose a good grove.
It has reddish-black feet, a vermilion beak,
  green coat, azure mantle.
Bright and colorful, lovely in appearance,
  It chitters and chatters in a lovely voice.

Opening lines, "Fu on the Parrot", Mi Heng (c. AD 198)

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