This miniature book would have been commissioned to accompany a fanciful bird-cage automaton, such as the bird-cage clock in the Palace Museum Beijing, illustrated in Guo Fuxiang, Ming Qing Huangdi Yu Zhongbiao, Beijing, 2002, p.13. The poem in the book translates as follows:
Imperial poem on a dancing pheasant mirror
A seven-character regulated parallel poem in twelve rhymes adopting the 'Shan' rhythm
This well-known bird came from the land of Jing (Hunan province),
Dancing to the caltrop flowers, it looks refined.
I open the treasure box to see unexpectedly something unsullied,
Astonished upon first sight by the variegated colours of the carved columns.
Loitering to the rhythm and extending wings like a brocade,
So outstanding among other gulls and birds, it fascinates the guests.
It cherishes its countenance like a beauty,
Tucking in its cloud-like wings, it stands prominently with starry eyes of faltering focus.
Moon's reflection in a dressing case of water of equally divided shadow,
Lines of yuan luan birds fly one after another.
Lifting its robust wings proudly only for the void luminosity,
It is too happy to return to the mountains.
The green ribbon hung from the eaves tossing in the breeze,
Spring is warming while patches of lichen are thickening to a cushion.
With wishes to boast its gracefulness at that moment,
One can thus realise something of comfort and leisure within this piece.
Calligraphy by minister Jin Jian
With two seal marks Chen and Jian
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