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Tattoos by Begonia-Folk Song by Li Tai-Hsiang (海棠紋身-李泰祥)

I.    Lyrics (translated from Chinese)

Always forget …on the left chest.
There is a small scar.
Why was it there?
Was it caused by knife or sword?
Or by tender lips,
Kissed by a not gentle curse?
Until in the sunset of life, the day when heart hurts,
Oh…at the day when heart hurts.
From the naked body in the mirror, he found,
The scar, the scar has grown.
The imprint of the hand belongs to whom?
A blood crab.
A tattoo by begonia leaf, the already distorted pattern.
He looked at the begonia leaf pattern.
Is it a wound? Or an internal injury?
Can’t tell anymore. Can’t tell any more.

Lyrics written by Yu Kuang-chung (余光中)

一向忘了 左胸口
是刀挑的 還是劍削的
直到晚年 心臟發疼的那一天
那塊疤 那塊疤已長大了
一張海棠紋身 那扭曲變貌的圖形
究竟是外傷 還是內傷
再也分不清 再也分不清

Lin Fang-Yi (林芳儀)

Chi Yu (齊豫)

II.    About this Song

The music score stated a scholar’s moods concerning about the fate of the nation. He cleverly uses a begonia’s leaf to represent China territory. Under the political ideology at the time, he used a scar and a hurt heart to create sharp contrast to express Chinese people’s homesick complex.

III.    Manuscript

Piano and voice manuscript (page 1) of “Tattoos by Begonia in D minor”
Piano and voice manuscript (page 2) of “Tattoos by Begonia in D minor”
Melody and interlude manuscript (page 1) of “Tattoos by Begonia in A minor”
Melody and interlude manuscript (page 2) of “Tattoos by Begonia in A minor”

IV.    Music Score


To view the story of Li Tai-Hsiang, please go to Li Tai-Hsiang, the Native Musician of Taiwan.

Text and images are provided by The Native Musician of Taiwan-Tai-Hsiang Li Digital Archive, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan