Recently I came across an interesting MTV by Jay Chou. It is about a song called 青花瓷 (The Blue And White Porcelain) I find the lyrics very poetic and beautiful, so I decided to share it with you on the blog.

To many of my audience from the west, you would be wondering what is a  blue and white porcelain.  You can take a look at some example of it from the Wikipedia entry here . In ancient times it was a type of porcelain often sought after by traders. It is regarded as an luxury item. I remember once in Brunei I visited the Maritime Museum and among the artefacts recovered from one of the most ancient shipwreck in Brunei bay, it is proven that traders would visit China to buy blue and white porcelain for trade.    Along the coast of Africa, blue and white porcelain plates are often used as ornaments and are regarded as treasures. 

The MTV is very Asian so i will give an synopsis here.

The MTV began in Ancient China, where a woman was captured by bandits and taken prisoner. She was taken captive by the Bandit King and raped. Her lover was a swordsman who fought to save her . He took his precious blue white porcelain vase as ransom for his wife. But as the woman was released, she was killed by the bandit king.  She died in the arms of her lover.

Later the precious antique porcelain was auctioned in the modern era.  The characters in the previous story were reincarnated. But they find themselves fighting over the same porcelain antique once again.  The swordsman decided to let the woman buy the antique. Their love rekindled again, unfortunately the bandit King now a mob boss, he tried to prevent the swordsmen and his lover from running away. This time the swordsman was shot and he died in the arms of his lover.

The lyrics of the song was about the swordsman missing his lover. The song uses the elaborate drawings found within  the porcelain vase as a metaphor to describe the beauty of his lover as well as his longing for her.

Here is the lyrics of the song and its translation

Title: 青花瓷
Artist:  周杰伦
Lyrics : 方文山
Arranged By : 钟兴民
Title:  Blue & White Porcelain
Artist:  Jay Chou
Lyrics : Fang Wen Shan
Arranged By : Zhong Xi Ming

Stanza 1


素胚勾勒出青花
笔锋浓转淡
瓶身描绘的牡丹
一如妳初妆

冉冉檀香透过窗
心事我了然
宣纸上走笔至此
搁一半

Stanza 1


sù pēi​ gōu ​lè​ chū​ qīng ​huā​
bǐ ​fēng​ nóng​ zhuǎn​ dàn​
píng​ shēn​ miáo ​huì​ de​ mǔ ​dan
yī ​rú​ nǐ​ chū​ zhuāng​

rǎn​ rǎn​  tán​ xiāng​ tòu ​guò​ chuāng​
xīn ​shì​ wǒ​ liǎo ​rán​
xuān ​zhǐ​ shàng​ zǒu​ bǐ​ zhì ​cǐ​
gé​ yī bàn​

釉色渲染仕女图
韵味被私藏
而妳嫣然的一笑
如含苞待放

妳的美一缕飘散
去到我去不了
的地方

yòu​ sè xuàn ​rǎn​ shì ​nǚ​ tú​
yùn ​wèi​ bèi​ sī ​cáng​
ér nǐ​ yān ​rán​ dì​ yī​ xiào​
rú​ hán ​bāo​ dài ​fàng​

nǐ​ de měi​ yī​ lǚ​ piāo ​sàn
qù​ dào​ wǒ ​qù bù​ liǎo
de dì​ fāng​

Chorus
天青色等烟雨
而我在等妳

炊烟袅袅升起
隔江千万里

在瓶底书汉隶仿
前朝的飘逸

就当我为遇见
妳伏笔

Chorus
tiān​ qīng ​sè​ děng​ yān ​yǔ​
ér​ wǒ​ zài děng​ nǐ​

chuī ​yān​ niǎo ​niǎo​ shēng ​qǐ
gé jiāng​ qiān​ Wàn ​lǐ​

zài​ píng dǐ​ shū​ hàn​ lì​ fǎng​
qián ​cháo​ de​ piāo ​yì​

jiù​  dāng wǒ wèi​ yù​ jiàn
nǐ fú ​bǐ​

天青色等烟雨
而我在等妳

月色被打捞起
晕开了结局

如传世的青花瓷
自顾自美丽
妳眼带笑意

tiān​ qīng ​sè​ děng​ yān ​yǔ​
ér​ wǒ​ zài děng​ nǐ​

yuè ​sè​ bèi​ dǎ ​lāo​ qǐ​
yùn​ kāi​ liǎo jié ​jú​ 

rú​ chuán ​shì​ de qīng ​huā ​cí​
zì ​gù ​zì​ měi ​lì​
nǐ yǎn​ dài​ xiào ​yì​

Stanza 2

色白花青的锦鲤
跃然于碗底

临摹宋体落款时
却惦记着妳

妳隐藏在窑烧里
千年的秘密

极细腻犹如
绣花针落地

Stanza 2

sè bái​ huā​ qīng​ de jǐn ​lǐ
yuè ​rán​ yú​ wǎn​ dǐ​

lín ​mó​ sòng ​tǐ​ luò ​kuǎn​ shí
què​ diàn ​jì​ zhe nǐ​

nǐ​ yǐn ​cáng​ zài yáo shāo​ lǐ
qiān​ nián​ de​ mì ​mì​

jí​ xì ​nì​ yóu ​rú​
xiù huā​ zhēn​ luò ​dì​

帘外芭蕉惹骤雨
门环惹铜绿

而我路过那江南
小镇惹了妳

在泼墨山水画里
妳从墨色深处被隐去

lián​ wài​ bā ​jiāo​ rě​ zhòu ​yǔ​
mén ​huán​ rě​ tóng​ lǜ​

ér​ wǒ​ lù ​guò​ nà​ Jiāng ​nán
xiǎo​ zhèn​ rě​ le nǐ​

zài​ pō​ mò​ shān ​shuǐ ​huà​ lǐ
nǐ​ cóng mò​ sè shēn ​chù​ bèi​ yǐn qù​

Repeat Chorus Twice Repeat Chorus Twice

 

Here is the English translation

Stanza 1
The plain outlines from the porcelain,  with its strong and weak strokes combined
The peony painted on it is as beautiful as you
The whiff of incense through the window carries worries which i understood
I paused the brush strokes which kept us apart.

The glazing on your portrait hides your beautiful charm. 
But your sweet smile bloom from within like a flower
Your beauty dissipates like smoke 
it entered a place which I cannot follow

Chorus
Within its blue misty drizzle I am waiting for you
Through its spiral smoke & rivers, we are a thousand miles apart
That little stroke at the bottom of that vase
Is a foreshadow of our meeting that is to come

Within its blue misty drizzle I am still waiting for you
As the moon light washes ashore the remnant of our meeting
As our precious porcelain retains her beauty
Your eyes carries your smiles

Stanza 2
A painted white koi came alive at the bottom of the dish
But its ancient inscription were longing for you.
The eons of secrets hidden within the kiln
Remain as silent as a embroidery pin falling

The palm leaves by the curtain stirs up showers, attracting rust on the door knockers
As I pass that little town in Jiang Nan, I  attracted you  
Within the coarse ink of that beautiful landscape painting
You are hidden within the depths of its brushstrokes

Repeat Chorus twice

 

My lyrics were translated with some inspiration taken from Youtube user
RandomMess

My Vietnamese friend may want to check out this translation of the song in Vietnamese

Recently i came across a very nice translation of the song, the Singer manage to successfully capture the spirit of the song even though it is not a direct translation. But I like the feel of the song

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