羅聘鬼趣圖 Luo Ping's 'Ghost Amusement'

Translated by Helen Wallimann  

Luo Ping's 'Ghost Amusement' 羅聘鬼趣圖

Autumn winds blow
Yang wanes, yin waxes
Is it you that Wuchang, waving his silken fan,
Is coming for?

Why is Ghost Bighead's head so very big?
Why is Lovely Lady's tongue so very long?
While you set your honey-sweet snare with a flower
Someone is keeping accounts
Of your life in a big book

The wild-haired mountain spirit stretches out a long arm
To catch hold of what cannot be held
The little ghost whirls through the air with his umbrella
Who knows where the swirling gusts will carry him

The wind blows down to the end of the road
Where skeleton man waits with his scythe and his hourglass

There have always been so many hazy areas
Old and young, master and servant
Stupidly fat, matchstick thin,
Hairy and hairless, male and female,
All kinds of strange relationships
Have been formed, distorted
In the grey zone enshrouded in the atmospheric web

Days without number have accumulated in the corners
Grievances protrude like eyes and mouths from the moss and the mould
The figure wriggling out of the corner
Slowly stretches out a hand, demanding payment of an old debt,
The lost jade hairpin, the treasured jewel

Having eyes that can see ghosts
Is a curse
Is a blessing
To see stars through the clouds and the mist
To see, amidst the gloom of demons and monsters,
Human beings

Soak the paper
Then start painting
So that, in the blur,
New creature images appear


2009, after visiting the exhibition 'Eccentric Visions: The worlds of Luo Ping' at the Rietberg Museum, Zurich, with Professor Andrea Riemenschnitter

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Copyright © AIEL 2008. All words and images are the property of Leung Ping Kwan and his associates. All Rights Reserved.