As many of you who read my blog and know my art, you know how I love the research and the symbolism that, I believe, add layers of unspoken meaning to each of my pieces...my hope is that you recognize that it is more than the fabric, more than the technique..it is the pure devotion that goes into these pieces...
For so many years I have loved peonies...not as uptight as roses, but still holding a feminine quality to them in a softer more relaxed way. I love their big bouncy blossoms that arrive in late spring to early summer.
I find them to relate to us as humans as delicate but with many many layers to them. If we have experienced life we have many layers and if we learn from these experiences, my hope is that we become more tender or delicate with one another.
Let's take a more in depth look at the Peony in China.
Peonies in Art
The exquisite peony flower has long been a favorite of Asian artists and appears not only in painting but poetry and literature as well. It is a frequent motif in Chinese art, featured on screen paintings, clothing and woodblocks.
Peony as Medicine
Peonies have been grown in China for thousands of years, though at first they were primarily revered not for their blooms, but for their medicinal purposes.
The ancient Chinese discovered that the peony's bark, roots, seeds and flowers served as medicine. Mu Dan Pi, a remedy made from the bark of the tree peony, was believed to cool the blood and provide antiseptic properties.
The buds and leaves of the peony are used in China to make a delicate white tea which many believe to have medicinal qualities.
Together with the plum blossom, the peony is a national floral symbol of the country of China. The Chinese name for peony means "beautiful" and in Chinese culture the flowers represent riches, prosperity and honor.
Peony is known as 牡丹 (mǔdān) in Chinese and is the king of flowers. The Peony symbolizes compassion, good fortune, feminine beauty, and peace.
Photography: Mark Mortensen