Chinese Flower Arrangement Exhibition



The title of the year 2012 annual spring flower arrangement exhibition is Basket and Landscape Flower Arrangement. Here are pictures of the opening ceremony of the year 2012 annual spring flower exhibition in Taipei. It was on display from March 30 through April 8 at the National Musuem of History. There were 200 arrangements designed by masters of the Chinese flower arrangement who were trained at the Chinese Floral Arts Foundation.

Director Chang Yun Tan, National Museum of History

Huang Yung Chuan, Ph.D., President of Chinese Floral Arts Foundation


Opening ceremony entertainment.

A room size arrangement consists of individual arrangements in dishes and pots with a painting on the wall as background.

Left to right, Charles Mason and Rosa Zee

Following a lecture and demonstration of flower arrangement, Pacific Asia Museum’s Executive Director Charles Mason was asked to give his thoughts. Below is text from his remarks.

Title – A New Appreciation for Chinese Floral Art

People in many cultures around the world create and appreciate displays of cut flowers and other plants. In some instances, people use floral displays in religious ceremonies to please or appease their gods. In other instances, people use floral displays for more secular purposes, to signify socio-economic status or political affiliations. Floral arrangements are often created to express congratulations for something joyous, or condolences for something sad. They are used as tokens of love and friendship. They commenorate important occasions in people’s lives. Even when floral displays have no special meaning, people enjoy them for their sheer visual spectacle and for the beauty they can add to our everyday lives.

Because flowers have a near universal appeal, they are an excellent vehicle for building understanding between people from different cultures. They are familiar and non-threatening, yet they can reveal quite profound differences in cultural customs, beliefs and aesthetic sensibilities. What types of flowers people use in displays, and how they use them, can be almost as distinctive as language. But unlike verbal language, which can be intimidating and difficult to learn, the language of flowers seems more natural and accessible. Consequently, flower and floral displays offer easier opportunities for cross-cultural learning than almost any other art form, including painting, music and literature.

Many people in the United States know about European and Japanese floral art traditions, but few know about the long history of Chinese floral art. I myself have been studying Chinese art and culture for more than twenty-five years, yet while I was familiar with certain references to flower arranging in Chinese literature and painting, I never connected those references to a coherent historical tradition. And even less was I aware that Chinese floral art is still alive and relevant today. This is why I was so excited to attend the 2012 exhibition of the Chinese Floral Art Foundation in Taipei at the end of March. For me, seeing the beautiful displays in that exhibition, and learning some of the history and philosophy behind the displays, was like discovering a new land or an unknown treasure. The experience provided new perspecties on aspects of Chinese history, art and culture that I had thought I knew fairly well. Of course, I realize that my sense of surprise and wonder was partly a function of my own limited knowledge, and that what I “discovered” has actually been around for more than 1,500 years. But Chinese floral art was largely new to me, and I think many Americans will share my enthusiasm when they, too, learn about this unfamiliar yet very approachable Chinese art form.

I hope that Pacific Asia Museum will be able to partner with the Chinese Floral Art Foundation to help make both historical and contemporary Chinese floral art better known in the United States. Thanks to an exhibition organized by Professor Huang Yong-chuan at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum almost twenty-five years ago, and to the more recent work of Rosa Zee and others in Los Angeles and other American cities, there is some awareness of Chinese floral art in the United States currently. But I want that awareness of Chinese floral art in the United States currently. But I want that awareness to grow to the point where Chinese floral art traditions are as well known here as European and Japanese floral art traditions. The mission of Pacific Asia Museum is to advance intercultural understanding through art. For the reasons I outlines above, Chinese floral art is an ideal vehicale for promoting intercultural understanding and I look forward to doing what I can to raise the visibility of Chinese floral art among all Americans.