Flower Arrangement, the Beauty of Artistic Conception

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019  2017-Sep-15 13:24:45

By features and forms, flower arrangement usually falls under two categories: Oriental and Western. Western style flower arrangement tends to use a great quantity of fresh flowers to form decorative patterns that highlight artificial, rational and uniform designs. But Oriental flower arrangements characterized by those of China and Japan aim to reflect the beauty of nature, lines and artistic conception. For the Chinese art of flower arrangement, the creation of beauty of artistic conception is the ultimate goal. It is rooted in ancient Chinese culture and art, reflects the natural realm pursued in Chinese philosophical pursuits combining Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist cultures, and is imbued with the culture of Chinese poetry and painting. Therefore, the beauty of artistic conception of the Chinese art of flower arrangement is what the art contributes to world flower arrangement art and is where Chinese flower arrangers find greatest difficulty in their efforts to design. Artistic conception can be used to measure how successful a work of Chinese flower arrangements is. It is the fundamental principle of such an art form and is a crucial concept artists need to understand and grasp.

An interpretation of artistic conception:

Chinese flower arrangements can be divided into two categories: commercial and artistic. Flower arrangements for commercial purposes often focus on uniform shapes, a large number of flower colors and decoration. This type of flower arrangement is similar to the Western style. Therefore, it should not be used as a typical Chinese form of art. The artistic category reflects the features of Chinese flower arrangement and is its best example.

Artistic conception is originally a core concept in classic Chinese art theory and has been relentlessly pursued in classical Chinese art. It reflects the sense of aesthetics of the Chinese nation. Ancient Chinese scholars and artists have different ideas about the meaning of artistic conception. Su Shi, a poet of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), spoke about “the meeting of intents and realm”. Er Shi Si Shi Pin, or The Twenty-Four Moods of Poetry, mentions “the harmony between thoughts and realm”. Chinese painters pursue “similarity in spirit” and calligraphers strive for the unity of content and forms. It boils down to an interlinking and agreement of the emotional world and the objective world of the people who pursue an art form. According to the entry of Ci Hai, Yi Jing or artistic conception refers to “an artistic realm in which the life described in literary works and the thoughts and emotions that are expressed in the works agree with one another.” Along the same lines, the artistic conception of flower arrangements can be understood in the following idea: The thoughts the artist wants to convey are in line with the flower arrangement designs according to a specified theme. The two are interlinked and there cannot be one without the other.

Everyone can arrange flowers, but they do so to achieve different effects. As shown by available works of flower arrangement, excellent arrangements leave deep, unforgettable impressions while bad ones do not leave an impression at all. Some works are natural, simple and plain, while also evoking a feeling of beauty. Others are colorful and yet boring. This is the distinction that lies in artistic conception. A great work of flower arrangement must display an innovative design. However, innovation per se is not enough and counts only as good design. A deeper level of beauty is achieved by the work created according to a theme by an admirer and a creator who can establish a thought process and emotional resonance between them. Such work can even inspire something that is beyond the work itself. Only through the integration of the two can a high level of artistic conception be achieved.