Archives for posts with tag: plum blossom

P1040630b

W380xH520mm, China

Bird and the Plum Blossom,
a traditional and popular composition for Chinese crafts.

A play on the phase 喜上眉梢 (xi shang mei shao), one is so happy that joy is expressed when in the eye brow.  You might wonder what a facial express has to do with plum blossom and bird.  The bird is 喜鵲 pica pica (magpie), its climbing on the plum branch 喜上梅梢 (xi shang mei que) has the same pronunciation has this uncontrollable joy.

Bird and Plum Blossom theme with
pearl inlay craft – pearl box,
pottery pattern – plum & bird plate,
ceramic figurines – pottery birds,
wood carving – birds in plum blossom

golden wood carvingL210xD35xH100mm, China

The character in this golden wood carving is known as Lin Bu, a poet in the North Sung dynasty, he is surrounded by plum blossoms and there is a crane by his side.  Lin led a hermetic life on a small hill at the West Lake in Huangzhou, never setting foot in the city, he found company with the monks whom he would visit with his small boat.  Lin also admire plum blossoms which he planted around his hut, this also inspired him to write poems about them.  Lin also kept a couple of cranes for company.  It is said that if he got unexpected guests visiting while he is out on his boat, the cranes would flew to him, hoover above his boat and gave him his message.  Lin was never married, the plum blossom being his wife and the crane his sons, this phrase 梅妻鶴子 (Mei Qi He Zi) became a description for a hermetic life.

card

W110xH150mm, Hong Kong

One of a pair of cards for with the blessing “peace for the 4 seasons“.

Features boys each holding a potted plant, plum blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum and lotus, the four plants are known as the four season flowers, each representing a season.

Spring – orchid, Summer – lotus, Autumn – chrysanthemum, Winter – plum blossom

The “vase” 瓶 (ping) has the same pronunciation as “peace” 平 (ping); thus symbolizing peace all year round.



			

golden wood carvingL300xD45xH65mm, China

The composition of plum blossom and bird is a popular theme for Chinese crafts.

Not only it this a yearly event when the birds come to party and feast when the plum blossom, it also has a symbolic meaning.  A play on the phase 喜上眉梢 (xi shang mei shao), one is so happy that joy is expressed when in the eye brow.  You might wonder what a facial express has to do with plum blossom and bird.  The bird is 喜鵲 pica pica (magpie), its climbing on the plum branch 喜上梅梢 (xi shang mei que) has the same pronunciation has this uncontrollable joy.

four season flower bowl four season flower bowlDIA160xH60mm, China

The four season flowers, Narcissus, Lotus, Chrysanthemum, Plum Blossom, were a popular decoration for pottery and other works of art.  They symbolizes a good fortune for all the four seasons.

Click to see the other four season flowers pottery ware.

The four seasons are appreciated all over the world, here is Mutter’s amazing performance on Vivaldi.

alabaster plate

Alabaster Plate

W120xL120mm, China

Calcite alabaster is known as commonly as the Han Jade as this type of white marble was used for fine architectural carving since the Han dynasty.  This pair of alabaster plates would have been used as part of the utensils for serving tea  outdoor.  Carving on top of the plates are flowers of the 4 seasons; Narcissus, Lotus, Chrysanthemum, Plum Blossom.

On the other corners are verses taken from the draft letter from the calligrapher Yan Zhen Qing to corrupt general Guo Ying Yi in 764 AD.  This draft letter is famous for the caoshu calligraphy and is learnt by younger calligraphers as the “争座位帖” (Zheng Zuo Wei Tie – The Struggle For a Seat).   In this letter of criticism  towards the general, the calligrapher concentrate more on his wording and thoughts rather than the calligraphy itself, however his emotion was naturally expressed in the strokes.

… 岂不以才为世出,功冠一时。挫思明跋扈之师,抗回纥无(?)之请,故得身凌烟之阁,名藏太室之庭,吁足畏也!然美则美矣,而终之始难。故曰:满而不溢,所以长守富也,高而不危,所以长守贵也,可不儆惧乎?!…

“故得身画凌烟之阁,名藏太室之廷”
Having a portrait at the hall of fame, the name recorded in palace

From the book of  “Xiao Jing” (Classic of Filial Piety)
孝经 – “高而不危,所以长守贵也。
满而不溢,所以长守富也”
Dwelling on high but without peril, nobility can be preserved.
Being affluent but not wasteful, wealth can be preserved.

From the book of (Chinese Code of Success, a classic and not one of those self help book)
朱子治家格言 – “讀書志在聖賢,(非徒科第);為官心存君國,(豈計身家)?”
To study with the aspiration to be a man of virtue (and not for official ranking).
An official ought to have the interests of the Emperor and the nation at heart (and not his own pocket).

pottery birdsW200xD150xH270mm, China

A delicate figurine of two pica pica (magpie) on a blossoming plum tree.  The subject, a symbol of blessing, is often seen in painting, pottery and carvings; for the Chinese, the pica pica is bird of luck while the plum tree signified happiness, joy, peace, longevity and success.   Here is a story about this lucky bird, in the Tong dynasty there was a man named Li Jing Yi.  Outside Li’s house there was a pica pica nest on a tree, everyday he would feed the bird, after a while the bounding between the bird and Li grew.  One day, out of the blue Li was arrested for a crime he did not commit, when he was most helpless in jail the pica pica came visited him and sang at the window for a long time.  His was relieved by the bird’s visit and 3 days later, the good news about his release came.  It is believed the bird can transformed as a imperial guard with the notice for his release.  Since then, the pica pica is associated with the bearer of good news.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

L170xW120xH20mm, China

The plum blossom has been an object of admiration by the scholars of China.  Along with the orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo, the 4 gentlemen plants have been a constant subject for artistic creation from poem, verses to painting and carvings.  Each of the 4 are given an individual personality; the plum blossom – noble arrogance, orchid – eternal elegance, chrysanthemum – cool glamour, bamboo – humble but dignify.

The inkstone being a treasured item of a traditional scholar is a place to be decorated.

Now, nothing to do with noble arrogance but isnt he the sweetest … with the plum blossoms on his head.

DIA50 x H45mm, China

This item selected by Furze for the Something Old Something New exhibition and is available at both Mountain Folkcraft and Soil.

This Chinese porcelain tea ware is decorated with plum blossom, however, the white on the brown glaze just reminded me of Bambi.  Its not surprising that Chinese name for the Sika deer is plum blossom deer.

DIA250mm, China

The composition of this plate of the bird and the plum blossom which gave the plate its name – plum & bird plate.  The theme of bird and plum tree can be found on painting, pottery, jewellery, stationary, etc.  The pair sometimes are fighting for the attention of spring and sometimes delivering good news, they are often seen together.  Plum tree blossoms in the spring time, a start of a new year, both a sense of joy and happiness.  The bird, pica pica, is a special bird, according to the Chinese “Book of Birds” (around 500B.C.), the pica pica is capable of telling the weather – “If it sings with its head upwards it will be sunny, if it cries with its head facing down it will rain, people will be happy just listening to it sing”.  Looking at the plate, it seems weather will be good tomorrow, have a nice day everyone!

Though it is not a pica pica (magpie) and it didnt sing, nevertheless its a nice clip.