The Art of Matching Couplets

The art of matching couplets is a singularly special style in Chinese literature, when the matches are perfect,  the

metaphorical meanings are deep and far-reaching and the beauty and wonder of the Chinese language is thoroughly revealed. The method by which it is revealed is in matching the upper and lower lines--so they fit together and are related. Particularly, phrases of only a few words are able to communicate many inner feelings.

The method of matching couplets appears to be simple and easy, but actually it's not easy. It's hard to make a good match. If the one composing it lacks scholarship, then the couplet will be too simplistic. If he lacks character, the couplet will be weak. If he lacks feelings, then the couplet will be insubstantial. If he lacks literary skill, then the couplet will be quite ordinary. Without both erudition and lofty character, it is difficult to soar to the sphere of refined literary genius... And so matching couplets is the most exquisite among all of China's exquisite literary forms.

What a shame that currently the art is declining and those who really have talent in making couplets are rarer than phoenix feathers and unicorn horns!