Name that mystery Asian man!
March 19, 2012 7:10 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine has a large black and white painting of a distinguished Chinese man, next to some text, and under some other text. Can you translate these texts and identify this man?

Note that it's entirely possible this isn't Chinese! This was found in the trash so no clues as to where it came from.
posted by crookedneighbor to Writing & Language (14 answers total)
It might be easier to post the whole picture, as that may make the ID a lot easier. And the 1st picture (of the complete vertical text) is extremely tiny.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:43 AM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: It does look Chinese. The characters at the top are seal script.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:53 AM on March 19, 2012

Response by poster: Apologies, foiled by bad upload services -- this picture of the text should be better. I don't have a full picture of the face yet but I'll ask.
posted by crookedneighbor at 7:53 AM on March 19, 2012

The characters along the side are a date.
posted by vincele at 7:55 AM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: Yes, the text is in Chinese, but most of the text is too fuzzy to read. In photo_1, I can make out 九月 "September" and 和碩果親王 "Prince Heshuoguo" (an honorific title for the 17th son of the Kangxi Emperor). The rest is too unclear. If you could take a better picture, I might be able to read more of the text. Photo_2 consists of highly stylized characters shot at an angle,which makes the inscription very hard to make out.
posted by juifenasie at 8:03 AM on March 19, 2012

Here is a much clearer 407K version of your image:
posted by juifenasie at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2012

Chinese Wikipedia has an article listing Qing Dynasty princes year by year 清朝宗室亲王列表

和碩果親王 Prince Heshuoguo appears 1/3 of the way down:

允礼 和硕果毅亲王 圣祖玄烨
(十七子) BORN: 1697年 DIED: 1738年 RECEIVED TITLE:1723年
posted by juifenasie at 8:21 AM on March 19, 2012

Response by poster: Nice work, juifenasie! That is indeed the painting. This site seems to imply that it's a portrait of Confucius, could that be right? Or is it definitely of this Prince Heshuogo?
posted by crookedneighbor at 9:05 AM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: I think the 和碩 bit is also part of the title (see here, 和硕亲王 meaning 'Prince of the Blood' or First Rank'), though juifenasie has identified the particular prince I think. I can see the character '敬' below his name (overlayed by the large square seal imprint), which I presume means he's presenting this picture, rather than it being of him. The other two pics were too small for me to read, I'm afraid.
posted by Abiezer at 9:11 AM on March 19, 2012

Response by poster: That makes sense --other sites with this picture do seem to suggest it's Confucius.
posted by crookedneighbor at 9:13 AM on March 19, 2012

The year is given to begin the date, 甲寅 in the sexagenary cycle in the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor, which is 1734. It also says it was 望日 or the 15th day of the lunar month (full moon IIRC).
posted by Abiezer at 9:21 AM on March 19, 2012

Oh, and I bet it won't be a painting from what I can see of the pictures, I think it's black and white because it's a rubbing of a stone engraving.
posted by Abiezer at 9:25 AM on March 19, 2012

First pic: 雍正甲寅九月望日和硕果亲王敬
posted by fix at 11:36 AM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: First pic: 雍正甲寅九月望日和硕果亲王敬? (character obscured by seal)
Second pic: 至圣先师碑

There's a description in crookedneighbor's link:



This picture of Confucius is an original rubbing of The Tablet of Zhisheng Xianshi (an honorary title of Confucius) at the Stele Forest, Xi'an. In 1734 Prince Heshuoguo saw the Dalai Lama back to Tibet - when they stopped by Xi'an he commissioned this tablet to mark the event. This rubbing is currently on display on the first floor of Wuyan New Campus, Liren School.

That settles it I suppose:)
posted by fix at 12:07 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

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