54. Chinese beauty holding a stringed instrument

This picture is an illustration of a quatrain about the moon on a spring night by the 8th-century Chinese poet Wang Zhang Ling. A noblewoman has been playing on her guqin - a seven-stringed zither - when she notices how beautiful the night is outside. She instructs her attendant to roll up the blinds so that she can see the full moon rising behind the trees. The poem reads: "The night is still and a hundred flowers are fragrant in the western palace - she orders the screen to be rolled up, regretting the passing of spring - with the qin across her lap she gazes at the moon - the colors of the trees are hazy in the indistinct moonlight." (printed June 1887)