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Have a well-thought-out plan, stratagem, etc.

In the song Dynasty (960-1279),there was a scholar whose name was Wen Tong
and who styled himself Yuke. He was not only admired by others for his great
learning, but also enjoyed widespread renown for his bamboo drawing. Every day
there were always quite a few peoply who called at his house to ask for one of
his bamboo drawings.

Actually, Wen Tong loved bamboos so much that he had
grown various bamboos everywhere around his house. No matter what season it was
and no matter whether it was sunny or rainy, he used to go to the bamboo forest
to observe how they were growing. He pondered over the lenght and breadth of the
bamboo poles as well as the shapes and colours of the leaves. Whenever he had
gained a new understanding, he went back to his study, spread a piece of paper
and prepareed some ink by rubbing an ink stick on an ink slab, and drew what was
in his mind on the paper. Through accumulation over a long period of time, the
images of the bamboo in different seasons, under different weather conditions
and at different moments were deeply imprinted in his mind.So whenever he stood
before the paper and picked up a painting brush with concentrated attention, the
various forms of the bamboo which he had observed at ordinary times at once rose
before his eyes. And so every time he was drawing bamboos he appeared confident
and at ease, and all the bamboos he had painted were very vivid and true to

When people spoke highly of his paintings, he always said modestly that
he had just put the images of the bamboo imprinted in his mind on the

A young man wanted to learn bamboo drawing; when he knew that Chao
Buzhi had made a profound study of Wen Tong's art of drawing, he went to Chao
Buzhi for instruction. Chao Buzhi wrote a poem to him. In the poem, there are
the following two lines:

When Yuke was painting the bamboos,

He bad their
images ready in his bosom.

Later people have summarized the lines as " having
had the images of the bamboo ready in one's bosom," which means having had ready
plans or designs in one's mind before doing a certain job so that its success is
guaranteed. It is also used go mean being calm and cool – headed in dealing with

This story comes from an article writted by Su Shi concerning Wen
Yuke's art of bamboo drawing.











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