Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A Red Wall And A Fake Waterfall

Continuing where I left off in previous posts on Ritsurin Garden.

This part of Ritsurin Garden is called the Red Wall (Sekiheki). It was named after the red cliff located on the left bank of the river Yangtze in China; of which the famous poet Shu Shi or Shu Dongpo of the Song Dynasty wrote his famous prose-poem : The Red Cliff Rhapsody, when he was exiled to a lowly government post in Huangzhou.
There, we found a waterfall, Okedoi no taki (okedoi literally means a tub and a gutter); an artificial waterfall that needed human intervention to make water gushes down and create the waterfall.

The waterfall was specially built for the feudal lords of Sanuki. Water used to be brought up the hill by servants back in the days but now a pump is used. Servants used to carry buckets of water halfway up the Mount Shuin and poured the water into a massive tub. Each time the Lord and his guests strolled past the pond, servants would tip the tub to create an illusion of a real waterfall.

I hope the Lord and his entourage didn't stroll too much or too long to this part of the garden. Imagine the number of trips and servants too, needed to fill up the huge tub and to have a continuous effect of a waterfall. @.@

Totally unrelated to the red cliff or the waterfall or Ritsurin Garden, here's Su Shi's poem that he wrote on the 10th year of the death of his first wife, Wang Fu.

Ten years living and dead have drawn apart 
I do nothing to remember 
But I cannot forget 
Your lonely grave a thousand miles away... 
Nowhere can I talk of my sorrow 
Even if we met, how would you know me 
My face full of dust 
My hair like snow? 
In the dark of night, a dream: suddenly, I am home 
You by the window 
Doing your hair 
I look at you and cannot speak 
Your face is streaked by endless tears 
Year after year must they break my heart 
These moonlit nights? 
That low pine grave? 



  1. That poem? That poem is both beautiful and incredibly painful to read.

    OK, so, before I get blubbery, let's rather talk about servants. The servants had to create an artificial waterfall? Yikes. I bet even they were laughing at their lords (while simultaneously cursing them too).

    PS: Does this Red Cliff have anything to do with the John Woo movie?

    1. Isn't it just? And it's not only a figurative distance but also a fact that he is far away from his first wife's grave. Shu Shi was exiled to lowly, peanuts paying government posts a few times in his lifetime due to what was deemed his critical view of the government based on his poems.

      It must not be easy (that would be an understatement!) to be a servant back in those days. I guess better laugh and make life more bearable. No?

      My dear, I am completely ignorant on contemporary English speaking movies. I tend to get stressed out watching them. ;p

    2. Contemporary Chinese movie, actually. :p

      If I had followed your link to Shu Shi yesterday instead of this morning, I would've figured out the connection. Yes, there is one, but with a few centuries between the battle, the poem, the garden and the movie. ^^

      PS: He was exiled for his critical view of the government? Not much has changed, has it? :(

    3. I apologise for my ignorance. xD

      Interesting. This made me want to dig in further. Funny how a mere wall can be quite fascinating. :)

      ps : yup, nothing much has changed. We may wear different clothes now but politics is still politics. :(

    4. Ah yes... you made me do some googling of my own too, about John Woo's Red Cliff and the connection to Su Shi's Red Cliff. :)

    5. Heh heh. Sweet revenge for all the Googling you make me do on your Backyard blog! ^^ All those names of droolworthy foods that I don't know.

      Oh. Wait. Why am I leaving Backyard comments on Urutora?

      Never mind. Jungle women cope well with chaos. :D

    6. Yes, we do well in utter chaos. :)

    7. psst... there's food up in tomorrow's post but I promise you, you won't be needing any googling! :)

  2. Oh, I learned a lot.
    By the way, you and your son are always friendly. It's very nice.

    1. Me and Son are very close, but I think soon he will not like to be hugged by his Mommy in public anymore. ^^

  3. Red Cliff? Sounds like that famous movie!

  4. Ooh! What a beautifully written heart wrenching poem. Love it! : )

    1. It is sad... and yet, can't help to love it. :)

  5. I have not heard of this poet, but the poem is beautifully written yet quite sad. Was it originally written in English? If not, it is wonderfully translated.

    1. Shu Shi (1037 - 1101)was an official and acclaimed poet, writer, calligrapher, pharmacologists of the Song Dynasty. No of course, it wasn't originally written in English. It was after all, written in China - in the 11th century! :)

  6. The poem is so sad but beautiful. Shed tears ... wuu wuu


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...