In China, flower arrangement is a venerable art with records dating back to the early Zhou Dynasty, the Spring and Autumn Period, and the Warring States Period, roughly between 11th century BC and 3rd century BC.
This volume brings together two celebrated Ming Dynasty texts, On Vase Flower Arrangement by Zhang Qiande (1577-1643) and History of Vases by Yuan Hongdao (1568-1610). The latter of which was translated into Japanese and deeply impacted that country's tradition of flower arrangement. Uniting the two famous books, horticulture scholar Li Xia provides contemporary readers with a theoretical framework for evaluating flowers, selecting vases, and appreciating the time-honed techniques of Chinese flower arrangement. Modern Reader on the Chinese Classics of Flower Arrangement includes images of several hundred Chinese paintings, documenting the rise of flower arrangement in China. By the Song Dynasty, flower arrangement was widely regarded as one of the four arts of literati leisure, along with tea brewing, incense burning, and scroll-painting. Li Xia also highlights aspects of Chinese culture hidden behind flower arrangement, offering insights into its historic, aesthetic, and philosophical underpinnings as well as a model textbook for flower arrangers at all stages of practice.