Sung Dynasty Flower Preservation Techniques

Floral arrangement reached a pinnacle of development during the Sung Dynasty, and a complex technology sprang up around preserving flowers. The following is a brief description of some of the methods and techniques used to enhance the beauty of flowers and to preserve their bloom.

(1) Mei Flower Arrangements

1.) "Break off the sprigs of mei flowers and insert them in saline water. The effect is to produce a full-bodied, abundant flower head at time of bloom." - Miscellanies of Chou Dynasty.
2.) "Boil salt pork and pour the juice into the vase in which the mei flowers are to be displayed. This process will help promote the budding of leaves and the forming of seeds." - op cit.
3.) "Pour hot water on the mei flowers each day (as a stimulus to growth)." -Flower Offerings Used in the Home by Lin Hung-shan.
4.) After the tenth lunar month, cut off the new buds of the mei flowers with a bamboo knife and coat them with wax, then insert them in a pot." -op cit.
5.) "When the mei flowers are only half open, insert them into a jar of honey and seal the mouth with wax. At the same time, sprinkle three or four blossoms with honey syrup. After the blossoms bloom, they will smell as fragrant as if they had been freshly picked." -A General Discourse on Science, by Su Shih.
6.) "To transform red flowers into white ones, burn sulfur before them, then cover them up. " - op, cit.
7.) "Remove the juice from salted meat while hot, pour it into a vase and insert tile flowers. This technique stimulates the growth of seeds. The juice from a cooked bream can serve as a substitute for the salted meat."- op cit, section on floriculture.

(2) Lotus Blossom Arrangements

1.) "Bind the stem of the lotus where it has been broken off with a strand of hair, covering up the air spaces in the stems with a layer of mud. Place the flowers in the vase, then add water, taking care not to allow it to seep into the cavities. The technique will extend the life of the flowers of several days."-A General Discourse on Science, by Su Shih.
2.) "Trim the stems of the lotus, wrap the flowers in paper and place them in a vase filled with warm water. When worn in the hair, the blossoms will keep their bloom for a longer time." - op cit. "When arrangement lotus, insert the flowers first, then pour in the water. "-Flower Offerings Used in the Home, by Lin Hung-shah.

(3) Peony, Paeonia, and Rose Arrangements

1.) "Plug up the stem with wax and the plant will retain its blossoms several days longer than otherwise," -A Note on Peonies, by Ouyang Hsiu.
2.) "For a fuller bloom, burn the stems before arrangement."-Flower Offerings Used in the Home, by Lin Hung-shan.

(4) Gardenia Arrangements

1 ) "Pare the status and beat them with a hammer." - Flower Offerings Used ill the Home, by Lin Hung-shan.
2) "To prevent the yellowing of the flowers, pound the branches with a hammer and tub in salt ." -A General Discourse on Science, by Su Shih. 4

[preface] [ styles] [religious] [palace] [literati] [folk] [9 pricniples] [significance] [preveration] [vessels] [appreciatin]

[Pavilion of Taiwan, R.O.c] [Cultures] [Council For Cultural Affairs]