Monday, January 4, 2016

賞花彈琴飲酒作詩 Qin, Flowers, Poetry and Wine

五代南唐 徐熙 玉堂富貴圖(局部)

唐 羅虬 (音”球”) 《花九錫》:
“花九錫亦須蘭蕙梅蓮輩, 乃可披襟。 若 芙蓉, 躑躅, 望仙, 山木, 野草, 直惟阿耳, 尚錫之云乎。 一、重頂帷(障風);二、金剪刀(剪折);三、甘泉(浸);四、玉缸(貯);五、雕文臺座(安置);六、畫圖;七、翻曲;八、美醑(賞);九、新詩(詠)。

花九錫是為牡丹而作, 羅虬認為有些品格高貴的花可搭配牡丹(蘭蕙梅蓮),但有些花(芙蓉, 躑躅, 望仙, 山木,野草, 直惟阿耳)是不夠格搭配牡丹的. 這九大原則當中其中的六七八九是說欣賞插花之外還要有賞畫, 賞曲(新編的曲, 大概是不喜歡聽老歌吧?) 賞美酒, 及賞詩詞, (也是要新編的詩).

Flower appreciation in Chinese history can dated back to 16th century BCE.  The develop of the art of flower arrangement to its peak was starting from the Sui and Tang dynasty to Song dynasty, the 6th to 12th centuries.  Peony in Chinese culture is the flower of grandeur. Luo Qiu was a poet in Tang dynasty and wrote about how to appreciate peony arrangement. To arrange other flowers with peony, there are some requirements, such as flowers like orchid, plum blossom and lotus can arrange with peony, but not with hibiscus, rhododendron moll, mountain wood, wild grass, etc,.

Luo Qiu also list 9 elements of arranging peony: 1, Double curtain to keep off dust and wind. 2, Sharp and high quality scissor (might have golden floral ornament on the scissor) to cut the flower. 3, Good water such as nature spring water or rain water but not water from a well. (well water is not flowing). 4, Big jar made with jade to put the flowers in. (do not use jar made with clay). 5, Elegant carved wood seat to place under the jar. 6, Painting hanging near by. 7, Newly composed music. 8, Good wine to taste. 9, Newly written poetry to read.

清 黃慎 春夜宴桃李園 (局部)
Qing Dynasty, Huang Shen painted the Feast in Peach and Plum Garden on a Spring Night (Partial).

In this painting, there is wine drinking, flowers in a jar on the table, a man looking at a scroll of painting, a lady holding a qin, two other ladies one is playing a flute and one is playing a sheng (reedpipe)... 

李白的[ 春夜宴桃李園序 ] 中亦有賞花歌詠及飲酒
夫天地者,萬物之逆旅也;光陰者,百代之過客也。而浮生若夢,為歡幾何? 古人秉燭夜遊,良有以也。況陽春召我以煙景,大塊假我以文章;會桃李之芳園, 序天倫之樂事。羣季俊秀,皆為惠連;吾人詠歌,獨慚康樂。幽賞未已,高談轉清。 開瓊筵以坐花,飛羽觴而醉月。不有佳作,何伸雅懷?如詩不成,罰依金谷酒數。

A Tang poem about gathering in a garden with friends and brothers to compose new poems and drinking wine...  by Li Bai

Preface to the Feast in Peach and Plum Garden on a Spring Night

Tr.  E. C. Chang (

The universe is a temporary inn for all living things. Time is the transit visitors over the span of one hundred generations. This drifting life is like a dream. There is too little time to enjoy the pleasure of living. Thus, it was quite appropriate for ancient people to, with candlelight in hand, roam at night. Now, the sunny spring draws my attention to the misty and beautiful scenes. The great earth inspires me to come up with ideas for my writings. Today we are so happy to gather in this fragrant garden of peach and plum trees. What a joy to recount the fun events in our family! You, my younger brothers, are so talented and gifted that you remind me of Weilian. But in chanting poetry, I alone feel ashamed for not being on a par with Ling Yun.

Before we are through with sightseeing, we change the subject of conversation from talking freely to more elegant topics. In the midst of blooming flowers, we hold our dainty feast. In moonlight, we pass our wine cups swiftly, from seat to seat, until we all feel tipsy. If we don’t compose a good poem for the occasion, how can we elegantly express our feelings? Anyone who fails to come up with a poem will be fined the number of drinks as agreed upon at Jin Gu Yuan.

唐 李商隱曾說: 花時無音樂 不快意
Tang Dynasty poet Li Shang Ying once said: It will be no pleasure if there is no music when flowers are blooming.

 明 陳洪綬所畫. 一高士的琴尚未從琴囊中取出, 一仕女正在插花, 另一位在賞畫
This painting is from a Ming dynasty artist, Chen Hongshou. A gentlemen has a qin still in his qin bag. A lady is putting a branch of flower into a vase. Another woman is looking carefully at a painting.