Feb 14, 2014

God

God of Tree Peony – Li Bai

Known as “the King of the Flower Kingdom” for its national beauty and heavenly fragrance, tree peony is one of the favorite flowers through Chinese history. It is also regarded as the flower of “riches and honor”.

Li Bai, also known as Tai Bai and Qing Lian Ju Shi, is one of the most renowned and greatest poets in China’s literary history.

He was always asked by the Emperor Tang Xuanzong to write lyrics when the emperor and Yang Guifei, his favorite imperial concubine, were feasting themselves. Once, he was asked to write poems at the Imperial Feast of the Tree Peony. He praised Yang as the precious flower tree peony in his poem and here is the English version:

God

She stands, leaning against the balustrade
Of Chen-hsiang Ting, the Pavilion of Aloes.
Vanquished are the endless longings of Love
Borne into the heart on the wind of spring.
The radiant flower and the flowery queen rejoice together,
For the emperor deigns to watch them ever with a smile.

—translated by Shigeyoshi Obata

The emperor was so satisfied with the poem that he rewarded him with a tree peony and asked him to protect the precious flower Tree peony in all his life. Hence, Li is regarded as the God of the Tree Peony.

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