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Exploring the Artistic Life Through Chinese Floral Art

中華花藝

Exploring the artistic life through Chinese flower art I recently went to Taiwan to take a course again. Last year I stayed for two months, but this time I can only stay for two weeks. Because of the tight schedule, I am basically with flowers every day. I have to empty myself completely, like a squeezed sponge, to absorb and push myself to the limit. I have now entered the advanced programme, where the ‘high-standing’ and ‘high-rising’ styles are very different from the traditional approach of placing the main flower in the lowest position. In the high-standing style, the main flower is placed at a height of five, like the head-to-body ratio of one-fifth when a ruler sits on a throne. This is known as the “five-headed” proportion. In the “high-rising” style, the main flower is placed at a height of seven, like the head-to-body ratio of one-seventh when a ruler is standing. This is known as the “seven-head” proportion. Isn’t that interesting? Chinese floral art emphasises natural harmony and pursues a dynamic, ethereal aesthetic. From the selection of the right flowers to their skilful arrangement and accentuation, every step of Chinese flower arranging requires deep cultural knowledge and refined craftsmanship. The traditional wisdom and exquisite techniques embedded in this art form are the key to its intergenerational transmission. Whether in colour matching, line arrangement or composition, every detail reflects the depth and breadth of Chinese culture. Only by immersing oneself in it can one truly appreciate the infinite charm of Chinese flower arranging.

 

The Chinese floral art curriculum, similar to the Ikenobo, Koryu, Sogetsu and Kado schools in Japan, has a systematic certification programme that allows students to progressively master this art form. Whether you are a beginner or an enthusiast, students can follow the textbooks and learn systematically. From elementary to intermediate levels, there are no exams – just complete all the classes to apply for the certificate. At the end of the advanced programme, students can enter the first round of examinations. Passing the examination allows entry to the research programme.

 

To become an instructor, one must complete both the Research I and II programmes, pass the written and flower arrangement examinations, and this process takes at least five years. But the subjects of floral arrangement are endless. Each encounter with flowers brings new inspirations and challenges, and the experience is unique and irreplaceable. Entering the advanced research programme will bring even more new shocks and stimuli.

In recent years, Hong Kong has been actively promoting the inheritance of Chinese culture, and Chinese flower arrangement, as one of the four great classical arts of China, has received increasing attention. From classical poetry and paintings, we can see the deep-rooted love of flowers in the cultural DNA of the Chinese nation.

 

We should all cherish this ancient cultural treasure and work together to make flower lovers experience the beauty of this art. Like the ancients, we can bring flowers into our homes, live with them and feel the traditional Chinese philosophy and wisdom through floral art.

Chinese Flower Art

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Exploring the Aesthetics of Floral Art: From Basic Techniques to Creative Insights

Recently, more and more flower shops have opened in Hong Kong, no longer limited to flower markets. As the price of floral materials has come down, more and more people are willing to buy fresh flowers to take home. However, to successfully create an attractive floral arrangement, one must not only master the basic techniques, but also gain experience in growing and caring for flowers.

The origin, variety and choice of colour of the floral materials, as well as their freshness, water retention, water quality, temperature and air circulation will all affect the degree of bloom and life of the flowers.

Roses, chrysanthemums, lilies, carnations and hydrangeas are flowers that are available all year round, but the varieties and colour choices on the market vary with the seasons. As the saying goes, “eat what’s in season”, and the same principle applies to creating floral art.

Simple vase arrangements are an essential skill for any flower lover. As well as colour coordination, you also need to consider the texture, size and density of the floral materials. Advanced floral artistry requires even more attention to the balance point of the arrangement and the attitude of the flowers, which we call the “look of the flower”. Just as people have a distinctive facial expression, flowers have their own unique pose, as each flower has its own sun-facing characteristics.

If you can take the time to attend a floral arranging class and be guided by an experienced instructor, it will benefit you for life. Learning floral art is one of the shortcuts to improving your aesthetic perception, and the final works often reflect the attitude of the creator. As long as everyone is willing to “put in the time”, anyone can become a master florist in their own home.

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Chinese flower arrangement workshop at HK palace museum

The largest floral workshop recently held by WaaFaaCii was held at the Hong Kong Palace Museum and the results were beyond expectations. I would like to express my gratitude to the two assistants and all the staff whose help made this event a success. I would also like to extend my special thanks to the Hong Kong Palace Museum for inviting us once again to organise a workshop on Chinese floral art, which is a great opportunity to promote Chinese culture and art. Through the enchanting beauty of flowers, we aim to give more people the opportunity to experience and understand the traditional Chinese art of floral arrangement and its history.

In this workshop we focused on the most commonly used flower container in Chinese floral arrangements – vase flowers. Vase flowers are known for their unique shapes and exquisite craftsmanship. In addition, the vase itself symbolises peace and is very suitable for arranging Lunar New Year flowers. From the selection of floral materials to the composition of the arrangement, each step involves the pursuit of aesthetics and the expression of creativity. This creative process brings a sense of fulfilment as one pays attention to the details and combinations of each flower. It is considered one of the fundamental elements in the art of Chinese flower arranging.

We look forward to organising more events like this in the future, giving more people the opportunity to experience the charm of Chinese floral art.