Peonies / fine brush painting牡丹（工筆）
The flowers are beautiful and the moon is round.
Everyone likes peonies, which are a symbol of wealth and honor.
Peonies generally don’t grow in Taiwan. When the peonies of Shanlinxi, Nantou County (potted peonies) bloom every spring, thick crowds of people come to view the beauty of the “king of flowers.”
The ancient poet Tao Chien liked chrysanthemums, while Zhou Dunyi preferred lotuses. Many people liked bamboo, and a few liked plum blossoms. Everyone had their own individual preference, but all of them acknowledged that people who loved peonies were extremely numerous.
While carefully examining peonies, I discovered that their leaves are all different from each other. Apart from the way they are attached to the stem, they also have many different shapes. Because of this, it is hard to say whether someone has painted them correctly or wrongly.
After seeing the poet Wang Anshi’s verses: “The bright moon cries out in the sky, and the yellow dog lies in the flower’s heart,” the Song Dynasty writer Su Shi wondered what kind of strange things the poem was alluding to. How can the moon cry out? A dog lying in the heart of a flower is ridiculous. Su thereupon changed these verses to “The bright moon shines in the sky, and the yellow dog lies in the flowers’ shade,” so that they would make more sense to him.
Many years later, Su was mortified to find out that the “bright moon” is the name of a bird, and “yellow dog” is a kind of insect.＠