Archive for the ‘Chinese Floral Art’ Category

Verdant Mist Scholar’s Society

The Verdant Mist Scholar’s Society was established in March 2010 under the auspices of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Its mission is to gather people of diverse backgrounds together to further the understanding and appreciation for the philosophies of ancient Chinese scholastic tradition.

Throughout Chinese history, every scholar learns and strives to excel in four art forms: music, board game, calligraphy and painting. Fine points of these arts are taught as part of a scholar’s formal education. The Four Arts (, siyi), or the Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar, is a term used to describe four main accomplishments required of the Chinese scholar gentleman. They are qin ( qin, music), qi ( qi, board game), shu ( calligraphy) and hua ( painting). Skills in these arts are diligently honed throughout a scholar’s life.  The photo above left is a painting titled Listening to Music. The man under the tree is playing zither. The photo above right shows a scholar doing calligraphy.

For a little under three and a quarter centuries under the rule of the Song Dyansty (AD960-1279), China enjoyed a period of economic growth coupled with great artistic and intellectual achievements.

It has been said that the Song Dynasty was referred as the Renaissance of China which compared to Europe’s Renaissance. It is a great period in China’s history.

Song Dynasty scholars’ daily ritual includes:

Appreciating painting

Burning incense

Flower arranging

Brewing tea

The image of a painting on the left shows a scholar practicing his daily rituals.  The painting is behind the scholar. A servant is serving tea, flower arrangement is in the forefront center and insence is burning in the lower left corner.

On May 6, 2012, The Verdant Mist Scholar’s Society hosted a hands-on workshop, “Be a Scholar for a Day” at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California, USA. There were three sessions of 20 participants each. Rosa Zee, an educator well versed in Chinese culture and a certified master of Chinese flower arrangement led the workshop. Rosa gave a brief overview of the practices nurtured in a scholar’s daily rituals.

Participants paying attention to instructor on calligraphy

Participants did calligraphy following Rosa’s demonstration. They learned to write six characters in Chinese using a brush and black ink, on a piece of rice paper. They learned how to hold a brush properly. Next, they were given a small lotus shaped dish, a pin frog, one branch of greenery and one flower. Rosa explained that there is a front and back to a greenery and flower. Make sure the front faces the viewer. Cut the stems to be a reasonable height in relation to the width and height of the lotus dish. The two plants should look like they come from one and be in a pleasing position, typically leaning slightly toward the back, left or right. Using only one branch of leaves and one flower is the simplest technique of Chinese flower arrangement. To be a master takes five to seven years of formal classroom training and a life time of practice.


Rosa Zee brewing tea

The last part of the workshop was tea ceremony. The audience was held in rapt attention as Rosa went through the ritual of brewing and serving tea.







Photo on the left shows participants with their flower arrangements in front of them while watching Rosa Zee performing tea ceremony.

Participants took home an appreciation of how a Chinese scholar went about his daily ritual. They were rewarded with taking home the lotus dish and pin frog. We hope they will practice flower arrangement frequently at home or in the office.

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“Love Notes Around the World” Dinner Reception

The American Cancer Society Southern California Chinese Relay for Life held a “Love Notes Around the World” dinner reception at the Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, USA.  Relay For Life® helps raise much-needed funds and awareness to help the American Cancer Society save lives from cancer. The dinner was attended by 120 people who each were given blank notes to write love notes to cancer survivors.

Five masters from the Chinese Floral Arts Foundation of the Republic of China designed various flower arrangements and did a demonstration of the art. This is their last stop in their tour of the Greater Los Angeles area.

United Charity Foundation in collaboration with the newly formed Chinese Floral Arts Foundation-USA Charter (CFAF-USA) hosted the masters from the Republic of China and its Chinese Floral Arts Foundation.

As part of the dinner event, a Scholar Box with Lotus Vase were give to all attendees as gifts from CFAF-USA. The Scholar Box consists of materials needed to practice the daily rituals of four arts of a  Song Dynasty Scholar (960-1280 A.D.) , calligraphy, viewing of painting, incense burning and tea brewing. The picture below shows a box covered with a painting and inside the box are a brush, ink, rice papers, incense, tea, lotus vase with pin frog to hold the flowers.  Below the painting is a pair of pipa button frog.

The practice of this daily ritual extends beyond just the mere activity, but how these customs influence our lives on an emotional, spiritual, and intellectual level is a realm which warrants further exploration.

The inclusion of the Scholar Box is because the four arts as practiced by a Chinese scholar are therapeutic and enhances the emotional, spiritual and intellectual well being of the practioner. This type of enhancement to one’s life promotes healing and well being, critical in recovering from cancer.


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Lecture at the Culver City Garden Club

Master Rosa Zee giving a lecture on the history of Chinese Flower Arrangement March 6, 2012, at the Culver City Garden Club, in Culver City, California, USA.

Rosa pointing out the various features in an arrangement.

An example of expressionist style arranged in a jar. The sun flowers are the lord, the pine is the envoy and the branch on the left is the officer.

Displays of various arrangements with props such as the calligraphy stand with brushes. In ancient times, a scholar's daily ritual included four arts, painting, brewing tea, burning incense, and flower arrangement.


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Demonstration at Pacific Asia Museum


Better late than never. Here are pictures of a demonstration on Chinese flower arrangement by master Rosa Zee. The occassion was Lunar New Year Festival at the Pacific Asia Museum on January 14, 2012. This year the Lunar New Year was on January 23, 2012. We had an early start on celebration. One of the program was flower arrangement art demonstration and a short introduction to the history of the art.

Left, arrangement in progress. Right, Completed arrrangement, straight up style in a bowl.


Miniature landscape in a dish.



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Photos of Class Projects

Here are pictures of class projects by students. The classes are held Thursdays in March 2012 in San Marino, California, USA, March 1, 2012.


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Masters from the Republic of China (Taiwan) Visit Los Angeles

Displays of Chinese flower arrangements at the Bowers Museum celebrating Lunar New Year were taken down February 7, 2012. (See the February 18 post for pictures of the displays.) The five masters then took a car trip up the coast of California, to Solvang, Seventeen-Mile Drive of Pebble Beach, Monterey, Carmel, and Hokone Garden in San Jose. They did not have the time to visit Hearst Castle and San Francisco.  After returning to Los Angeles, they showed off their skills of tea ceremony and Chinese flower arrangement at the Huntington Library February 11, 2012. Their names are

林貴幸–lead master, Lin Gui-Hsin; 楊金鑾 – Yang Jing-Luan; 陳玉貞 – Chen Yu-Zheng; 蔡雪芬 – Tsai Shue-Feng; 蔡淑絨 – Tsai Shuh-Roong.

Tea Ceremony


Flower demonstration by two of the five Masters

Straight up style in a dish

Flowers in a miniature bronze vessel

Chrysanthemums in an ox blood color vase


Calla lilies in a bowl


From L to R, Vivian Chan and Rosa Zee of the Verdant Mist Society of Huntington Library, Lead Master Lin Gui-Hsin, Jim Folsom, Director of Botanical Gardens of Huntington Library, and the other four masters.


Addressing the audience are from L to R, Vivan Chan, Jim Folsom and Rosa Zee

Mesmerized audience

From L to R, Vivian Chan who provided the food, Judith Shaw, unidentified woman and Janet Keyes.




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These pictures are arrangements by five masters from the Republic of China (Taiwan). They were displayed at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, USA, from February 3 to 5, 2012. The occasion was the Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration. Their names are 林貴幸–lead master, Lin Gui-Hsin; 楊金鑾 – Yang Jing-Luan;  陳玉貞 – Chen Yu-Zheng;  蔡雪芬 – Tsai Shue-Feng; 蔡淑絨 – Tsai Shuh-Roong.

Chrysanthemums and lemons in a basket.

Golden branch and chrysanthemum in a vase.

Heavenly bamboo and chrysanthemums in a bowl.

House Full of Treasures in a Scholar's Studio Setting.

Magnolia and chrysanthemum in an ox blood color bowl.


Magnolia and juniper in an ox blood color vase.

Simplicity - a single camellia and a furled golden leave.

Abundance of vegetables.

Flowers in a wedding basket.





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The Splendor of Tang Dynasty Flowers

“The Splendor of Tang Dynasty Flowers” is a lecture and flower arrangement demonstration to be held at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, USA.  This is an accompanying program of the current exhibit, “Warriors, Tombs and Temples: China`s Enduring Legacy.”  The lecture and demonstration by Master Li-Shu Lee will be on Friday, February 3, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The extraordinary art of Chinese flower arranging is a pinnacle of the glory of the Tang Dynasty.  Additionally, this display of Tang Dynasty-inspired floral arrangements can be on display throughout the museum February 3, 4, and 5, 2012. Presented by the Chinese Floral Arts Foundation of the Republic of China.

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Masters of Chinese Flower Arrangement to Visit Los Angeles

Six to 8 masters from Taiwan will be coming to the Los Angeles area to arrange displays and give demonstrations in early February 2012. Stay tuned for details.

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The Art of Chinese Flower Arrangement

Welcome to my blogging site. This is the first post. All are welcome.

We are working on a translation into English of Introduction to the Art of Chinese Flower Arrangement. Stay tuned for its publication.

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