Wood Painting

Lu Jingxuan(陸敬軒), the magistrate of Yongcheng County(永城), is from Xiaoshan(蕭山), Zhejiang(浙江). He was tasked with renovating the Yongcheng yamen(administrative office or residence for government officials in imperial China) and decided to use local materials. There was an original willow tree within the yamen, which Lu Jingxuan chose to use for the renovation.

When the carpenters felled the willow and sawed it into boards, they discovered that the grain on the boards formed an exquisite landscape, resembling a painting created with light ink. The left half of the painting depicted a towering mountain peak, while the right half showed a cliff with an ancient pine tree entwined with vines, its branches hanging low. Beneath the ancient pine stood an elderly man leaning on a cane, wearing a tall hat and long sleeves, his facial features vividly portrayed. His left hand was hidden in his sleeve, resting on his chest. His right foot was stepping forward, revealing the sole of his shoe slightly, while his left foot was concealed beneath his trousers. He appeared as if he were turning back to listen to the tinkling sound of a spring.

Lu Jingxuan regarded this natural wooden painting as a treasure and took it back home. This occurred on the thirteenth day of the tenth month in the forty-eighth year of Qianlong.

Translated from《木畫》in 《子不語》:


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