Chinese & Art Classroom

Chinese Classical Poem 134 & Shirley Created Music 134/ Painting 57: Ti Du Cheng Nan Zhuang -- A Girl's Face & Peach Blossoms (By Cui Hu) - Jan 16, 2012/ Aug, 2010/July,2006

Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English & Chinese Jan 16, 2012
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese & English Jan 16, 2012

Listen to Shirley Explaining the Poem & Follow Shirley to Read the New Words & Poem
Follow Shirley to Read the New Words & the Poem

Read the Meaning of This Poem

See Shirley Created Paintings for the Poem Jan 12, 2012

See Shirley Created Paintings for the Poem June 12, 2011

See Shirley Created Paintings for the Poem Aug 28, 2010

Chinese people love flowers and we have endued many different human qualities to different flowers in our culture.   

For example:

-- When we admire people who are strong, brave and be able to keep their dream in the hard environment or time, we compare them to plum blossom.

-- When we admire people who keep their clean and honest personalities in the bad or dirty situation, we compare them to water lily.

-- When we admire these persons who are aloof from politics and material life, but keep their clean personality, we compare them to orchid.

Today, I would like to introduce another flower that relates to love between man and woman -- peach blossom.

Background of the Poem

In Chinese culture, if you heard people said that someone has a "Luck of peach blossom ", that means he has been loved by someone else. :-)

“Luck of peach blossom” is from a Chinese folk story that relates to a little poem by Tang Dynasty(618 -907) poet Cui Hu.

According a literary sketches Ben Shi Shi• Qinggan by Meng Qi in Tang Dynasty, a poet who named Cui Hu had a walk in the suburb of the capital on the Tomb-sweeping Day. At a gate that peach blossoms were full blooming in the yard, he asked for a cup of water, a beautiful girl went out to treat him warmly. Both of them were impression at each other. On the same day next year, he went to the same house, the girl was not there, but there were only the peach blossoms there in the spring breeze, Cui disappointed and wrote the poem on the left door leaf of the yard.

Days later, he went to the south of the capital casually and he heard crying from the yard, so that he knocked on the gate. A old father went out and asked: “ Were you Cui Hu? “ Cui said “ Yes”. The old father cried again and said : “ You have killed my daughter. “ Cui was surprised and did not know how to answer. The old father said, “ My daughter has grown up, educated and reasonable, but she has not married yet. Since last year, she was often in trance, felt disturbed as if having lost something. Recently, I went out with her, when we came back, found some words on the left door leaf, after reading it, she was sick, abstained from food and passed away. I am old, there is only the child, so that she did not get marry, for she wants to find a gentleman to get marry and to look after of me. Now she was dead, did not you kill her ?” Then he cried again. Cui was also touched and asked for entering the room to cry her. And found she was dignified on the bed. Cui carried her head on his leg and said that I am here. Instant, the girl opened her eyes, and she relived in a half day. The old father was so happy and then he married her daughter to Cui.   

By the good help of his wife, Cui became a successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations and then a good officer.

Since then, people started to compare the situation that a man gets the sincere love from a lady to “Luck of Peach Blossom". And the story of "Ren Mian Tao Hua -- a girl's face and peach blossoms" has become a typical Chinese Love Story, and it has been adapted to many different art works.

Enjoy the Poem

The first two lines:去年今日此门中, 人面桃花相映红Qunián jīnrì cǐ mén zhōng, rénmiàn táohuā xiāng yìn hóng This day last year at the same gate, a girl’s face and flowers reflected the red.

The two lines are retrospection. The first line writes out of the time and place, very lifelikeness and detail, shows us this place has deeply remembered in the heart of the poet.   The second line writes the girl, who was in the peach blossoms last year. The peach blossoms were bright-colored and beautiful in the spring breeze already, but a girl’s face reflected the peach blossom redder. Both of the beautiful things reflect each other, shows us a more wonderful vision and atmosphere.

Last two lines: 人面不知何处去, 桃花依旧笑春风 Rén miàn bù zhī héchù qù,, táohuā yījiù xiào chūn fēng。No one knows where the girl is now; the peach blossoms are still smiling in the spring breeze.

At the same place and same today this year, something is same, something is different. The peach blossoms are still same there, the girl is not there again. There is only the beautiful memory with a light sadness in the heart of the poet.

This little poem is written naturally, uses the girl’s face and the peach blossoms as the clue, to connect last year and this year, to compare with the sameness and difference, to express the sigh with emotion of the poet circuitously from the bottom of the poet’s heart, lucidity and mellower, there is much aftertaste.

In this poem, comparison, reflection and personification are importance methods to help the poet to express his feelings.

For enjoying this poem, I created a piece of music for this poem July 30, 2006, and painted two paintings to match the music and poem in 2011 and 2012. I really hope that my effort will be some help with you to learn Chinese culture and language...

Translation of the Poem

This day last year at the same gate,
A girl’s face and flowers reflected the red.
No one knows where the girl is now,
The peach blossoms are still smiling in the spring breeze.

Chinese Characters & Pronunciations:

You can click any Chinese Character to open the New Character Board and to see its Chinese pinyin, meaning, pronunciation and follow my reading,   you can also click the links over to enter the Painting Column,or you can directly enter the art notes on the painting that I created for this poem to see my painting and art notes for the poem

题都城南庄 - Tí dūchēng nán chuāng

崔护)- Cuī Hù ( Táng )

去年今日此门中 - Qunián jīnrì cǐ mén zhōng,
人面桃花相映红 - rénmiàn táohuā xiāng yìn hóng。
人面不知何处去 - Rén miàn bù zhī héchù qù,
桃花依旧笑春风 - táohuā yījiù xiào chūn fēng。

If you have any questions, comments and suggestions, please write to or You are welcome to publish your opinions in Message Board as well.

Shirley Zhang

Shirley Wrote, Painted, Translated, Sang & Recorded the Content over Jan 16, 2012/ Aug 29, 2010/ July 30, 2006

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