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Gift of words for young readers

By Gu Xin | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-06-01 09:39

A page from  A Tale of Tao Hua Yuan. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A Tale of Tao Hua Yuan

Author: Tadashi Matsui

Illustrator: Cai Gao

Based on Tao Hua Yuan Ji (Peach Blossom Spring) by Tao Yuanming, an illustrious poet during the Jin Dynasty (265-420), A Tale of Tao Hua Yuan reflects the longing towards beauty in us all. The protagonist, a fisherman, gets lost and discovers an utopian world by accident. The kind locals, who led simple yet satisfying lives, were unaware of the chaos outside of their world. The fisherman eventually grew homesick and left the world adorned by blossoming peach flowers. When he wanted to return, that world was nowhere to be found.

Tadashi Matsui, often hailed as Japan's "father of picture books", was introduced to a painting on Tao Hua Yuan Ji at a young age. Awed by its beauty, Matsui penned his picture book A Tale of Tao Hua Yuan for schoolchildren in Japan and invited renowned Chinese artist Cai Gao to illustrate for the book. Cai's use of colors and strokes, both deeply influenced by Chinese aesthetics, add to the splendor of Matsui's words.

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