The Blooming Beauty of the Flower of Spring

It is well known that ‘nature’ is a muse frequently embraced by the people of China, weaving its essence into the tapestry of philosophy, art, culinary traditions, and culture.

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Take, for instance, the creation of Chinese characters, crafted by keen observations of natural forms, transforming them into a written language. These various elements of nature are not merely symbolic; they are harnessed for their profound meanings, woven into expression of blessings, and seamlessly integrated into ceremonial practices that exude auspiciousness. Moreover, they find their way into the intricate designs and patterns adorning ceramics and ornamental motifs, adding a touch of divine elegance and symbolism to the vibrant cultural canvas.

Undoubtedly, when delving into the cultural tapestry of China, one cannot escape the enchanting tale of the “Three Friends of Winter” or 岁寒三友 (Suì hán sānyǒu). Comprising the auspicious trip of the pine (松, sōng), bamboo (竹, zhú), and plum (梅, méi), their union embodies the resilience to endure, unwavering in the face of obstacles or any hardships. The symbolism lies in their ability to thrive even in the harsh winter, portraying a steadfast spirit. Among these three arboreal companions, there is one botanical luminary frequently invoked in poetry and revered as a symbol of various forms of beauty – the ‘plum blossom’. Its delicate petals echo tales of elegance and grace, contributing to the poetic landscape of resilience and enduring allure.

‘Méi’ (梅), or ‘bhuê’ in the Teochew dialect, is the name bestowed upon a flower adorned with lush, white petals, surrounded by delicate yellow stamens, gracefully arranged at its heart. This flower, elegantly perched along branches without the accompaniment of leaves, exudes a captivating simplicity, yet harbors a subtle beauty that is orderly and imparts a sense of pure freshness. It is a bloom that captivates the minds of artists, poets, and connoisseurs alike, who often delve into the intricate details of this blossom, using it as a metaphor to juxtapose the allure of a seemingly fragile beauty with an underlying resilience. Furthermore, this flower retains its graceful and vibrant charm amid the biting cold of winter, standing tall amidst layers of frosty snow, showcasing a delicate strength that is anything but fragile.

Moreover, the plum blossom stands as the first to bloom in the season of deciduous foliage, making it a cherished emblem of pure, pristine beauty, and the emergence of new life. In days of yore, it was said that catching a glimpse of the plum blossom in bloom heralded the imminent arrival of the warm and vibrant spring. This auspicious significance has elevated the plum blossom to a symbol of the rejuvenating season, embodying the essence of freshness and vitality. Such positive connotations have etched the plum blossom as an icon representing the onset of Spring, or ‘Chuntian’ (春天), the season of blissful joy and warm happiness deeply ingrained in the hearts of the Chinese people.

Lot 270
Five blue and white porcelain tea caddies each painted with plum blossom on a blue ground (5 pcs.)
Style: Chinese
Dimensions: W 13 cm. H 14 cm.
Circa: 19th Century
Estimated Price: 25,000 - 30,000 THB
Starting Price: 12,000 THB