Eight-Character Couplet in Regular Script by Chen Jichang, Qing Dynasty


Chen Jichang was a famous minister during the reign of Emperor Daoguang of the Qing Dynasty. He consecutively won the first place in provincial examination, metropolitan examination and palace examination during Jiaqing Years. He was the last "Hat-Trick Hero of Chinese Imperial Examinations" in the history of Chinese imperial examination. 

This "Eight-Character Couplet in Regular-Script" of Chen Jichang is dignified and solemn on the whole. We can see from the preface that this is a couplet written by Chen Jichang for the Lotus Hall in the former residence of his good friend, artist Luo Chen. The first line of the couplet goes "every single river or rock is exquisitely designed and arranged", which originated from poet sage Du Fu's Free Verse for Eulogizing Wang Zai's Landscape Painting of the Tang Dynasty and used in describing exquisiteness in artistic composition and hesitation in brush application. Chen Jichang utilized this story to praise Luo Chen's serious and meticulous attitude in creation. The story about "spending more heavily on selecting neighbors than residence" in the second line originated from a Tang historian Li Yanshou's History of the Southern Dynasties· Biography of Lü Sengzhen, which extends the traditional residential concept and expectation of "selecting proper neighbors to settle and remaining on friendly terms with neighbors".