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Chinese dragon boat regatta on Chin-Ming Lake.

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Chinese dragon boat regatta on Chin-Ming Lake.
14th c Chinese Yuan Painting

WANG Chen-p'eng (active early 14th c - ) Primary
1323
14th c
Yuan
China.
New York. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
China15.chi01043
One of the ill-fated men that Li Bo mentioned in his poem was the bureaucrat Qu Yuan who threw himself into the river when his advice was not followed by the autocratic princes of the Ch'u (Chu) state. In his honor the people instituted the a Dragon Boat regatta that has been celebrated every year since that time. This 14th century painting shows the Dragon Boat regatta on Chingming Lake. In the early 1990s Dragon boat races were introduced into Portland Oregon and since that time many other American cities have mounted teams and are participating in competitions world wide, another indication of the longevity of Chinese tradition. It is strange to think that an ancient ceremonial honoring a bureaucrat who stood up to his masters has inspired such a long tradition. In his opinion the rulers that he served had forgotten the old precept that the Mandate of Heaven is given to those who rule in the interests of the people and can be removed from those who do not. The disillusioned 11th century bureaucrat Su Dongpo did not take such drastic action as had the 3rd century Qu Yuan who threw himself into the river. Instead he expressed his feelings with some cynicism in this poem which he wrote on the birth of his son: Families, when a child is born Want it to be intelligent. I, though intelligence, Having wrecked by whole life, Only hope the baby will prove Ignorant and stupid. Then he will crown a tranquil life By becoming a Cabinet Minister. --translation by Arthur Waley

Caption: Chi Wong Chen-P'eng | Chinese dragon boat regatta on Chin-Ming Lake. | 1323 | Chinese | Yuan
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