[The content is from the preface written in 1903 by Weng Tonghe (1830-1904) for the book Gu yuan cui lu, a catalog of paintings and calligraphy, by Shao Songnian (1848-1923)]
Shao Songnian, the editor, is expert in literature, especially analysis and evaluation. His painting and calligraphy collection covers thousands of subjects and ranges from the Tang dynasty to the present. Shao's father-in-law, Yang Qinglin, has a good art collection as well. Similar to Jiangcun Xiaoxia Lu Shao he compiled his and his father-in-law's collections into a sixteen volume catalog titled Gu Yuan Cui Lu.
The word Yuan [translated as the chance of affinity] is a Buddhist-related concept. Yuan can neither be summoned nor dismissed, converging when appropriate and then diverging in a flash. It is Su-Yuan that is predestined or deterministic. Yin-Yuan is the 'chain of causation' that has been accumulating for countless eons. Zhong-Yuan is the accumulation of the cycle of cause and effect, which determines the next cause-and-effect.
Shao, the editor, is a person of good temperament and knowledge who embraces the chance to aggregate the spirits of great scholars. Was it predestination that caused the return of these tomes that were lost during the invasion and scattered in the Japan? The crescent moon lies high above the lake. The editor holds the saved books caressingly. These old works of literature are timeless. They exist afresh in the present cycle of cause-and-effect. I am naive and uncultured, but I have always been fond of books. Even though I have no spare grain to eat and no constant place to live....
In the year of Jimao (1939), after the start of autumn, the lingering summer heat has not subsided. I wrote this to dispel the stuffiness. Presented to Mister Chung Yuan. Zhelu (signature)
Seal: Yungao, Zheweng, Tianqu
Chen Yungao (1877-1965), courtesy name Zilun, Huangzi, pseudonym Zhelu, was a native of Zhili, Hebei province. In 1903, Chen was granted the title of Jinshi or "presented scholar", a graduate of the palace examination. He was appointed a compiler at Hanlin Imperial Academy. In 1911, Chen became a senator of the Prince Qing Cabinet Bideyuan, a central institution founded in 1911 for establishing a constitutional government system in the late Qing dynasty. During the war, in 1944, with Pan Linggao (1867-1954) and Fu Zengxiang (1872-1950), he erected a Jiashen Monument at the Beijing's Jingshan Park to promote patriotism and anti-Japanese sentiment. In 1955, Chen was a research fellow of the Central Research Institute of Culture and History. Other fellows at the institute are all senior scholars, like Qi Baishi (1864-1957). In 1956, with Zhang Boju (1898-1982), Pu Xuezhai (1893-1966), Zheng Songxian (1892-1976), Guo Fenghui (1898-1973) and Zhang Shizhao (1881-1973), Chen established the Chinese Calligraphy Research Society and became its president. The Society fostered many great artists, like Qi Gong (1912-2005), Chen Peng (b.1931), Liu Bingsen (1937-2005), Wang Xuetao (1903-1982) and Wang Kunlun (1902-1985). One of Chen's calligraphic couplets is hanging on a pair of pillars at the Du Fu Cottage in Chengdu. A colophon by Chen on a Guan Ping (1895-1967) painting is in the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.