In celebration of Taiwan's hosting of the 2018 Taichung World Flora Exposition, the National Palace Museum presents special exhibition Pure Offerings of a Myriad Plants: Paintings on Flower Vases and Potted Scenes, where it uses arts of floral arrangement and potted scenery depicted via the beauty of paintings to complement the major event. For ages, flowers, trees, and plants of various kinds have been a source of inspiration for artists, the portrayal of their complex blossoms, leaves, and branches in various colors and shades presenting the wonders of nature and changes in the seasons. Flowers and trees that naturally grow in the ground can also be cultivated and moved indoors for appreciation. The transformation of flora into aesthetic objects of attention in art not only is seen in "broken branch sketches from nature," but also as "flower vases" and "potted scenes." Flower vases, as the name suggests, involve seasonal flowers and branches cut and placed with proportion and position in vessels of various sorts. Potted scenes feature flowers, herbaceous plants, miniature trees and others from nature that are trimmed and bound for transplanting into containers. Both flower vases and potted scenes emphasize the beauty of the human touch when it comes to arranging the plant world.
Vase flowers began in the Six Dynasties period to Tang dynasty with floral offerings to the Buddha. Through the Song and Yuan dynasties, the range of floral types increased dramatically as methods of their cultivation matured. Along with advances in the art of ceramics, arranging flowers and branches in vases gradually became a fashion. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the art of horticulture flourished even more as literati grew and arranged flowers to become refined aesthetics of plants and rocks. Many texts on this subject also appeared at this time, spurring greater refinement in potted scenes.
Potted scenery of artistic design and flower arranging in vases are both elegant pursuits for cultivating the mind. Flower vases and potted scenes present viewers with "a world in a flower, a buddha in a leaf," reflecting great observation and creativity as well as the rich symbolic content of traditional customs. This special exhibition features a selection of 42 sets/works that allow audiences to not only appreciate plant and flower paintings, but also realize intricate beauty in the world and, by extension, contemplate how to live in harmony with natural surroundings.
Languages: Chinese and English
Related network resources: Pure Offerings of a Myriad Plants: Paintings on Flower Vases and Potted Scenes