Prince Teng’s Pavilion – A Lofty Literary Landmark

滕王阁 | Prince Teng's Pavilion

Poem on Prince Teng’s Pavilion

by WANG Bo

  The lofty Prince Teng’s Pavilion overlooks the Gan River.

  Jade pendants tinkle, and carriage bells jingle.

  With the banquet over, and the guests leaving, the singing and dancing have stopped.

  In the morn the rosy clouds from the southern shore flit across the painted pillars.

  In the eve the rain in the western mountains are drawn in by the red curtains.

  The lazy clouds are reflected in the water and the days pass in leisure.

  Things change and stars move; how many years have passed since the building of the Tower?

  Where is its builder, Prince Teng?

  Only the Gan River outside the railing flows to the east all by itself.

滕王阁 | Prince Teng’s Pavilion

The movie worthy setting described by the Tang dynasty poet WANG Bo is located in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province. In fact, the present form of Prince Teng’s Pavilion is the 29th re-creation of the original building, after destructions by wars or fires.

The present building’s architect, LIANG Si-cheng, also has a famous family background – his father is LIANG Qi-chao, the Qing dynasty reformer, philosopher and publisher.

Poet WANG Bo is considered a literary genius in Chinese history. He wrote a short essay before introducing the above poem to the dinner party, the prose was composed as he rested under a blanket, and subsequently presented without hesitation.

Because of WANG Bo’s famous poem, Prince Teng’s Pavilion became a cultural icon in China, the repeated re-building efforts would be testaments to the resilience of a monumental literary work.