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Lone Wild Goose by sarriathmoonghost Lone Wild Goose by sarriathmoonghost
Finally finished!

Alone, the wild goose refuses food and drink,
his calls searching for the flock.

Who feels compassion for that single shadow
vanishing in a thousand distant clouds?

You watch, even as it flies from sight,
its plaintive calls cutting through you.

The noisy crows ignore it:
the bickering, squabbling multitudes.

-----------------------“Lone Wild Goose” by Du Fu

A Tang poem, wrtten in 700s A.D by Du Fu, one of the most famous poets, who has been called as the "Poet-sage".

Well there is a background story for the poem. The Chinese always admired wild migrating geese because they are free and majestic; also represents companionship and teamwork, as they organize among themselves the formation of the shape of “一” or "人". They are like wolves, companionship is everything, and the poet Du Fu thinks so too.

This poem was written at the time of the An Lushan Rebellion during the Tang dynasty, which had a dreadful impact on the Tang dynasty. Du Fu was one of the poets who had seen the glory and downfall of Tang. Before he ran away from the war he lived in Chang'an, Tang's capital city, also the most gorgeous and populated city. After the war it was just a death zone.

This poem is written after the war. Du Fu used the widely-recognized symbol of the migrating goose to represent himself. He saw himself as a goose, with companions, family and friends lost or separated during the war. In fact, this is a personal poem that expresses the poet's loneliness.

My mother once said that the greatest poet of all time is Li Bai, and then Du Fu, who can only come after. Du Fu might be the "poet sage", but Li Bai is the "poet transcendent". Why that? Because Du Fu spent the last years of his life in unrest (running from war, that is), and therefore his poetry is always filled with such sorrow and concerns of the mortal life. The highest he will go is to become a sage, exceeding every other poets there is, except Li Bai, who had seen through the meaninglessness of mortality, and sought for a realm of pureness of art and literature, as well as the heart.

Now that's the background story, not really the complete reason why I did this. One day when I was thinking I came up with the phrase "lonely goose" in my head; it sounded really familiar. When I researched for it I encountered Du Fu's poem, and though I took the poem very differently than what was intended (obviously cause I have never been through war, and can't be the judge of anything), I still had a decent imagery in my head.

At the same time I found photographs of a piece of Han-dynasty clothing researched and remade by someone from the Hanfu community, and its shape blew my mind---That dress had the most beautiful shape I had ever seen, with long and baggy sleeves forming these long and deep wrinkles that looked like carefully planned sculptures...they are like...the art of wrinkles! (I don't even care if that doesn't make any sense anymore) And so I really want to put those wrinkles in the form of a painting....

The birds in the corner are wild ducks. Because in the original poem it says wild ducks. I'm not sure why they translated it as crows, probably sounds better I guess. But believe me they are supposed to be ducks.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-12-13
Lone Wild Goose, elegant and excellently detailed illustration by ~sarriathmoonghost. ( Suggested by solfieri and Featured by alicexz )
Qianniao Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013
I love your artwork with the intricate clothing designs, but the details look like they were a pain to draw -
DeviantLilGirl Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
i love that kimono, and all the little geese on it!!
sarriathmoonghost Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013
It's not a kimono...
DeviantLilGirl Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013
Oh shucks... what's it called then, if you dont mind my asking?

sarriathmoonghost Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
It's called Hanfu, traditional Han Chinese clothing
DeviantLilGirl Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013
Thank you!! 
germen71 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
LudvikSKP Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
that's shockingly
mrspiderdoom1623 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2013
Beautiful pose.
shebatortle Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
This is lovely. :heart:

About the crows--I think they're substituted in the translation because they have a more negative connotation than ducks. Like in Aesop's Fables where the crow is portrayed as greedy and vain.
AerialsFlight Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing work! :)
MoreThanKarisma Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Incredible. Congratulations on being part of the Lonely Path. :)
TheDevilReborn Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
congratulations, you must be so proud to have one of you pieces chosen to be apart of The Lonely Path!
Happy Valentine's day! :iconloveredplz:
Matt2010 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
Beautiful poem and beautiful work!
King-Anarky Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this was on a notice and I thought it was absolutely beautiful.
UniversalVoice Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
simply beautifully done......The detail is wondrous.......great job!
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
MrProfGenius Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
你的画挺漂亮 <3
nicolasjolly Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
wow it's beautiful!!
dawnstail Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
CelticIrishgirl Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
So beautiful! :heart: :rose: :blackrose:
janejane42 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012
Absolutely gorgeous.
CastleDown13 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012
Pretty! :D
Aylie-Serinde Featured By Owner May 11, 2012
GaardCeteru Featured By Owner May 5, 2012
Absolutely love the use of texture in this piece!
BardofDarkness Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012
Love the classical style and details in this pic...
walichenko Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
Thank you for adding the print option! I have mine framed now and it sets the mood in the entire room :)
AudreyLucero Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2012  Professional General Artist
Such grace and beauty! I love how evocative of feathers the garment is! It is a very sensitive palette you've chosen as well.
IHeartInuyasha1322 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012
Nicely done
Lunarluminesce Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2012
It's beautiful...everything is so elegant, and has such a great flow.
MetalLearner Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2011
:jawdrop: one word to say...

Blackdog616 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2011
Wow, such beautiful detail! I love the poem, too. they really compliment each other.
e-x3 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
very nice
KorinR Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh my god this is amazing!
ccbluuart Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011  Professional General Artist
very nice!
Oritay Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011
HamletKnight Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011
nice construction!!
Lorrain Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
just... WOW!
LadyLucrecia Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011
Beautiful well done :)
ForestDwellerHouses Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Just beautiful! One awesome looking piece of art!
Bl0ndej0sh Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011
Brilliantly composed!
Mitia-Arcturus Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011
Dear Friend
Your Fantastic Artwork is featured in
:iconart-portraits: ...and...:iconaction-portraits:
become ART-PORTRAITS's member you are welcome!!! ...:heart:
SnowWhiteAK Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amazing movement in the fabric!
PIMPSLAPTHATHOE Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
woooooow!! DX thats so.... DAYYYYUM!! good.
KanGokuZineGIRL Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011  Student General Artist
Beautiful artwork...
RussDog Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011
That's such a beautifuuuul painting!! And I love your description as well. Very enlightening. Keep up the amazing work! (:
Vamp-Elanor Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Splendid composition and detail, I'm really impressed! :love:
duesterheit Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011
elizabethshim Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
powerful yet graceful! beautiful work! <3
MissBoo89 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011
This is a beautiful illustration! It compliments the poem very well. Congratulations on the daily deviation
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Submitted on
June 22, 2011
Image Size
9.4 MB


3,133 (who?)