Jun 02, 2013

History Of The Chinese Peony

The peony is indigenous to southern Europe, western North America and Asia. The majority of peonies are herbaceous perennial plants, however, there are other types of peonies, which can be distinguished easily by their loftier height. Tree peonies are more like woody shrubs that can grow up to 1.5 to 3 meters tall. Peonies typically have deeply lobed leaves and massive, usually sweet-smelling flowers, varying from yellow to white to red when they are in bloom. The peony has been attached to various cultures in legends and through admiration. Peony flowers have been used as ornamental designs in one of the national emblems in China. Together with the plum blossom, the Chinese peony is a traditional floral symbol of the country. The Chinese peony is widely referred to as the “flower of riches and honor.”

The Chinese peony can be found in several works of art in China. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty announced that the peony become the national flower. Presently, the Republic of China in Taiwan assigns the plum blossom as the national flower, while People’s Republic of China has no legally assigned national flower. In 1994, the Chinese peony was planned as the national flower after a countrywide poll, however, the National People’s Congress failed to confirm the option. In 2003, another plan has been set to choose what the national flower should be-a decision is still yet to be made.

The Chinese Peony in Art

Peony

Peony Chinese paintings

The exquisiteness of the peony flower has long enthused artists in both western and eastern culture. Preceding the 17th century though, it was the artists of China and Japan who employed images of the peony into their creative endeavors. The Chinese peony is basically the national flower of China and is usually mentioned in poetry and literature. Peonies are some of the major motifs of Chinese decorative arts and have been employed in screen paintings, porcelains, woodblock, clothing and tapestries.

Both herbaceous and tree peonies were brought to Japan at the start of the 8th century. The Japanese soon started employing imagery of the peony into their tapestries, porcelains and paintings. The peony was also the theme of several poems and constantly employed in Japanese literature. At present, the peony continues to be an extremely prevalent subject matter in Japanese art.

The Chinese peony as art was introduced to the Western world at a much later date and has never reached the same extent of utilization compared to in China and Japan. Nevertheless, when a particular type of tree peony started to increase in popularity in Europe in late 18th century, artists started to incorporate them into their paintings.

The Chinese Peony and Medicine

Traditional

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

As you may have noticed, Chinese medicine and herbal solutions are continuing to gain acceptance in the Western world. In Chinese medicine, the peony is known to offer several health benefits. The peony is utilized currently as a single cure or in amalgamation with other herbs to alleviate emotional-nervous conditions. The Chinese botanicals have been among the most remarkable as observed through sufficient documentation over the decades. The peony is known to especially treat memory problems. As it means “most beautiful” in Chinese culture, the Chinese peony is also considered a powerful medicinal property.

SOURCE : peonypassions.com

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