Posted by on Oct 1, 2018 in Commemoration | 0 comments


2017/01/03 09:17:45 聯合報 文/莊靈

【”Deep Friendship Through The Art Of Writing”
Part One】by Zhuang Ling

– Invitation for Grill Barbecue –

Published on January 3, 2017, 09:17:45, United Daily News, by Zhuang Ling


My father often needed to attend meetings in Taipei; whenever he went to Taipei, he always stayed at the home of his former Beijing University classmate and lifelong old friend, Tai Jing-nong, in a Japanese-style professor’s dormitory of National Taiwan University, located at No. 6, Lane 18, Wenzhou Street.

臺靜農(右)與莊嚴1969年於臺府的小書齋。 攝影/莊靈
Tai Jing-nong (right) with Zhuang Yan in a small study at Tai’s residence in 1969. Photograph / Zhuang Ling


Recently, my wife, Chen Hsia-sheng, and I have been meticulously sorting through various ink writings and paintings left by my father, Zhuang Yan (Mu Ling). We discovered many items sent to him by his friends in the arts and literary world during the period when the National Palace Museum’s artifacts were still stored in Wufeng Beigou (1950-1965). These included brush-written letters and spontaneous poems and paintings from many elders like Tai Jing-nong, Zhang Daqian, Dong Zuobin, Liu Yantao, Wang Zhuangwei, Kong Decheng, Hu Shi, Luo Jialun, Lang Jingshan, and Lü Fotin. Revisiting these items, the deep friendship and unbound artistic elegance between these friends, as well as scenes of their joyful gatherings, reemerged before my eyes, deeply moving us descendants. Despite these events being over fifty years ago (I was just a student then), the radiance of friendship and cultural fragrance emanating from these writings have only grown more profound and fragrant over time.

這裡筆者先介紹一件臺靜農世伯在民國四十九年(1960)寄給父親的大字毛筆信函(見圖一), 原文如下:




Here, I introduce a large brush-written letter sent by Tai Jing-nong to my father in the forty-ninth year of the Republic of China (1960) (see Figure 1). The original text is as follows:

Our honorable old buddy, Mu: Today, I heard from Mr. Sun and Mr. Yu that there is a friend from Xinjiang who can barbecue western region style beef and mutton. The seasoning is simply black pepper, chili, and white salt, and the taste is absolutely wonderful.

When will you come to Taipei next? Please inform us in advance so that the gentlemen at the Lishui Hermitage (Lishui Jinshe) can make arrangements. It’s said that this kind of meat is incomparably better than the stir-fried meat strips found along the Danshui (Tamsui) River. I wonder if even Liu Yi (Ouyang Xiu) would salivate at the thought?

Respectfully from Xiejiao An, October 1st (Author’s Note: “Xiejiao An” is also written as “Xiejiao An,” which is Tai Jing-nong’s studio name).

圖一:臺靜農民國49年寄給莊嚴的大字毛筆信函。 攝影/莊靈
The large brush-written letter sent by Tai Jing-nong to Zhuang Yan in 1960. Photograph / Zhuang Ling

信的文句中間還夾著兩行小字:此札書於中秋節前三日,乃於節後三日始發,殊可笑也。 七日晚又及

In the midst of the letter, there are two lines of smaller text: “This note was written three days before the Mid-Autumn Festival but was only sent three days after the festival, which is quite amusing. And [the sending] was completed on the evening of the seventh.

這封信是用三張斗方宣紙寫的,裝在一個黃褐色的傳統中式信封裡;信封上面是臺老手書的毛筆墨跡:「台中 霧峰 一號信箱 莊慕陵先生啟」 寄件人處則是:「台北溫州街十八巷六號 臺緘」。左上角貼了一張印著金門莒光樓的八角錢淺綠色郵票;上面清晰地蓋著一枚圓形黑色郵戳,「台灣/四九年十月八日/十四/台北(辛十八)」

This letter was written on three pieces of artwork rice paper and enclosed in a traditional Chinese yellowish-brown envelope. The envelope was addressed in brush ink by Tai himself: “To Mr. Zhuang Mu Ling, Mailbox No. 1, Wufeng, Taichung,” with the return address: “No. 6, Lane 18, Wenzhou Street, Taipei, Tai Seal.” In the upper left corner was a pale green octagonal stamp depicting Kinmen Juguang Tower, clearly stamped with a round black postmark, “Taiwan / October 8, 49th year of the Republic of China / 14 / Taipei (Xin 18).”


Reflecting back, in October 1960, I was a fourth-year student in the Forestry Department at the Provincial Taiwan Agricultural College (renamed National Chung Hsing University in 1961). At that time, our family lived in the ‘Dongtian Shantang,’ a simple bamboo structure near the warehouse in Beigou. My father was likely the curator of the National Palace Museum then. Since the Executive Yuan had already decided in September of that year to relocate the artifacts from Beigou to Shilin’s Waishuangxi after the autumn of the 54th Year (1965), my father would often needed to go to Taipei for meetings; each time, he would live with his former Beijing University classmate and lifelong old friend, Tai Jingnong, in a Japanese-style professor dormitory at the National Taiwan University located at No. 6, 18th Lane, Wenzhou Street. During his free time, he would usually visit old bookshops on Guling Street with old friends, frequent familiar snack shops, or visit friends in Taipei’s arts and literary circles. The three young painters from Lishui Hermitage on Lishui Street near the National Taiwan Normal University—Sun Chia-ch’in, Yu Chung-lin, and Hu Nien-tsu (Hu is still active in the painting circles on both sides of the strait at the age of 90)—were close friends of my father and Tai. The Xinjiang friend mentioned in the letter who was adept at roasting beef and mutton was probably discovered and recommended by Sun Chia-ch’in and Yu Chung-lin from Lishui Hermitage. The “stir-fried meat strips along the Danshui River” mentioned at the end of the letter likely refers to the numerous makeshift snack stalls set up along the banks of the Danshui (Tamsui) River near Yingqiao (also known as Kawabata Bridge, now Yonghe Bridge). Whether my father actually went to Taipei to taste the exquisite Xinjiang grill barbecue arranged by Tai and friends Sun and Yu because of this letter remains unknown!

這次我與夏生在整理的卷帙當中,還找到一幅由麗水精舍三位畫家於辛丑年(1961)合作繪製,送給父親賀年的設色斗方小畫〈歲朝圖〉(見圖二),上面就有靜農世伯的諧趣題句:「辛丑元日 麗水精舍三畫家為慕陵叟作歲朝圖 屬歇腳漢題曰 歲在辛丑 年當大有 宜酒食肉 叟健如牛」,剛好印證了那段時間父親和臺伯以及麗水精舍諸君子的深厚交誼。

Among the items my wife and I sorted, we also found a small, colored artwork painting titled “Sui Zhao Tu” (New Year’s Day Picture), jointly painted in the year of Xinchou (1961) by the three artists from Lishui Hermitage as a New Year’s gift for my father. On it, there’s a playful verse by Tai Jing-nong which reads: “On the first day of Xinchou, three artists from Lishui Hermitage created this Sui Chao Tu for the venerable old man, Mu Ling. The idle man comments: ‘In the year of Xinchou, great fortune is due, appropriate for wine, food, and meat, may the old man be as healthy as an ox.’” This perfectly reflected the profound friendship during that period between my father, Tai, and the gentlemen of Lishui Hermitage.

圖二:麗水精舍三位畫家於辛丑年(1961)合作繪製,送給莊嚴賀年的設色斗方小畫〈歲朝圖〉。 攝影/莊靈
Figure 2: The colored artwork painting “Sui Zhao Tu” by the three artists from Lishui Hermitage, presented to Zhuang Yan in the year of Xinchou (1961). Photograph / Zhuang Ling


Whenever I read this letter from Tai Jing-nong, with its vigorous and joyous strokes sent to my father, Zhuang Mu Ling, in the countryside of Taichung, I envision the moments when my father and Tai shared nearly seventy years of friendship, discussing calligraphy, indulging in ink art, or toasting together, filling the small study with a warm and harmonious cultural atmosphere. This naturally inspires admiration and longing in us descendants for the natural elegance and demeanor of the previous generation of Chinese literati, filling us with endless emotion.


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