Painting: One Lotus Flower Is like a Complete World

Zhang Cuiying

PureInsight | December 1, 2003


Writing in the painting:

Walking above water like a fairy
Wearing a red hairpin
Fresh from a bath in the Hua Qing Pool
With a rosy cheek from drinking

By Caixing [Zhang Cuiying's penname]
[Zhang Cuiying's signature stamp]

An explanation of the poetry in the painting:
In Chinese poetry, beautiful ladies are often used as metaphors for beautiful flowers. In this poetry, the lotus flowers that rise above water are described as fairies with red hairpins walking above water whereas the red hairpins refers to red lotus blossoms and the fairy walking above water refers to the stem of the lotus blossom.

There is a story associated with the Hua Qing Pool. Being the favorite concubine of the Emperor Xuan of the Tang Dynasty, Yang Yuhuan often enjoys a hot bath in the Hua Qing Pool, which the Emperor Xuan has built exclusively for her. Yang Yuhuan is famous for her sumptuous and plump beauty. The beautiful red lotus blossom above water that is large in size appears in the eyes of Zhang Cuiying as the beautiful fat beauty rising from a hot bath in the Hua Qing Pool with a rosy cheek from drinking.


One lotus flower is like a complete world. The lotus leaf is like a great Buddha.

Lotus flowers grow in shallow water. Each stem of a lotus flower has 4 main parts: flower, leaf, root and seeds. Lotuses blossom in white, pink, red and sometimes yellow. Lotus leaves are big and round like elephant ears. Lotus roots grow in sections. They are great as a fruit or vegetable. Lotus seeds grow in lotus cupules in green. Lotus seeds must be peeled before eating. The heart in a lotus seed tastes bitter but is cool in nature. It has a calming nature and can be used for tea or herbal medicine.

Lotus flowers are beautiful, fragrant, and edible. The most precious characteristic of Lotus flowers is that they grow out of mud yet remain pure and unpolluted by it. They are called the "true gentlemen of flowers." It is why countless generations of Chinese poets and painters are attracted to lotus flowers. Poems about lotus flowers started to appear in China three or four thousand years ago. Legend has it that the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss is filled with lotus flowers whose majestic beauty cannot be described in words.

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