DishesDIA100xH40mm, China

A pair of peony bowls.

Peony is a flower that has been much appreciated, beyond displaying in gardens.
Its beauty reciprocated in painting, opera and poetry.

Emperor Xuan Gong was with his beloved Lady Yang admiring the peony blossom in the palace garden.  Li Bai was summoned to court to write a poem about the peony.

清平调

雲想衣裳花想容,春風拂檻露華濃。
若非群玉山頭見,會向瑤臺月下逢。

一枝紅豔露凝香,雲雨巫山枉斷腸。
借問漢宮誰得似?可憐飛燕倚新妝。

名花傾國兩相歡,長得君王帶笑看。
解釋春風無限恨,沉香亭北倚闌干。

The poem “Lady Yang” by Li Bai, translation by S. Obata

The glory of trailing clouds is in her garments,
and the radiance of a flower on her face.
O heavenly apparition, found only far above
On the top of the Mountain of Many Jewels,
Or in the fairy Palace of Crystal when the moon is up!
Yet I see her here in the earth’s garden
The spring wind softly sweeps the balustrade,
And the dew-drops glisten thickly …

She is the flowering branch of the peony,
richly-laden with honey dew.
hers is the charm of the vanished fairy,
That broke the heart of the dreamer king
In the old legend of the Cloud and Rain.
Pray, who in the palace of Han
Could be likened unto her,
Save the lady, Flaying Swallow, newly dressed
In all her loveliness?

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.


					
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