The peony has always reigned as the monarch among flowers and is traditionally known as "the king of the flowers." The American poet, Robert Bly, describes the peony thus in his poem, "At the Time of Peony Blossoming".
"When I come near the red peony flower,
I tremble as water does near thunder,
as the well does when the plates of earth move,
or the tree when fifty birds leave at once."
How many poems have praised the peony throughout the ages? How many refined brushstrokes have traced the edges of this stately and magnificent flower,
expanding upon the infinity of its significance.
The current exhibition "One Hundred Species of Peony" has collected one hundred paintings of different peonies by Qing Dynasty court painter, Jiang Tingxi. Jiang’s realistic paintings record the true appearances of peonies at that time. Before beginning work on the paintings, the artist first wrote "A Hundred Praises of Peonies" and labeled each flower with its specific characteristic and colors. Jiang painted this volume with the utmost craftsmanship, using just the right colors and hiding his brushstrokes among the leaves and flowers depicted, bestowing each painting with a certain naturalness and serenity.
This weekend, in cooperation with Long Museum’s "One Hundred Species of Peony," we invite you to attend a peony-themed recital, with no experience on traditional painting required. Here, learn to recite or listen to a poem about peonies, regardless of its origins. Calm your soul with a soothing recital in this early summer and travel through both the past and the present. Specially invited calligraphers and painters will interpret the beauty of the peony as described in calligraphic works and teach the Mogu-Fa of Chinese painting. Between the flying brushwork and strokes of ink, let your heart become purified.