Thursday, February 4, 2010

White Lotus

"The plain white lotus is often abused by flowers of more seductive hues" begins this poem from the Tang dynasty, written centuries ago in China by Lu Guimeng. Steve Watkins, who is versed in both modern and ancient Chinese scripts, helped me to more clearly understand the meaning of the poem, and together we worked on finding words in English that both expressed the meaning and flowed well.

This silk painting is inspired by the poem and by a tea house on the shore of a large lotus pond in Huzhou. The peonies I added to be the "flowers of more seductive hues".
The sense the poem expresses of plain honest virtue being overshadowed by flash, is as meaningful today as it was over a thousand years ago. Today I sense the "plain" Chinese traditional knowledge, especially of food, being ignored in favor of Western glamour such as the very "modern" McDonalds!

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