Chrysanthemums (Dendranthema morifolium) 菊花 are known as ‘gentleman’ of flowers as they are not as pretty and spectacular as plum and peach blossoms. They are said to be symbolic of intellectual accomplishments.
Chrysanthemums begin blooming during autumn. Growing chrysanthemums in retirement has been a popular theme since the fourth century when the famous poet Tao Yuanming (陶淵明) (CE 365 – 427) wrote his poems of renunciation and return to nature. One of his famous poem is as follows:
Translation by Zhao Weiwei (趙薇薇) :
I made my home amidst this human bustle, yet I hear no clamour from carts and horses. My friend, you ask me how this can be so? A distant heart will tend towards like places. From the eastern hedge, I pluck chrysanthemum flowers, and idly look towards the southern hills. The mountain air is beautiful day and night; the birds fly back to roost with one another. I know that this must have some deeper meaning. I try to explain, but cannot find the words.
Paintings of the Chrysanthemums
Stuart Leung 梁仕釗, Autumn Chrysanthemums (秋菊有佳色), 1963, ink and water-colours on paper, long scroll
I would like to thank Mr Stuart Leung most sincerely for allowing me to upload his two masterpieces onto this webpage. In September 2019, Mr Leung held a highly successful Solo Major Exhibition at Chinese Cultural Centre, Chatswood, Sydney to celebrate the 55th Anniversary of his first Solo Major Exhibition in the City Hall, Hong Kong.
Wang Jing (王靜) (2014) Plum Blossom, Orchid, Bamboo and Chrysanthemum 梅蘭竹菊 Time Publishing and Media Co. Ltd (Apitime)(時代出版), ISBN: 978-7-5461-4505-1
張光賓 (1981) 中國書畫 3 花竹畫 光復書局
Mai-mai Sze (1978) The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, Princeton University Press
陳相鋒 陳姿娟 (2012) 画室必備 – 中國画技法圖典 菊花篇 湖北美術出版社