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“Ershisi fan huaxinfeng” 二十四番花信風 by Dong Gao 董誥 pt. 11

Picture credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei






Through wind and rain, [they] rise up in Three Slumbers,[2]

Thousands of threads hanging in the mist of twilight.

As the tender strands sway in all directions,

Snowy blossoms that fill the sky whirl around with grace.

The third pentad after Pure Brightness: willow blossoms






The prestigious purple of Wei that eclipses the yellow of Yao,[3]

During the [solar term of] Grain Rain, unfurls its petals in the wake of other flowers.

Illuminating all four corners of the jade hall with the opulence of spring,

This blossom alone is crowned king of myriad flowers.

The first pentad after Grain Rain: peony

[1] Coloured characters rhyme. [2] The willow tree is associated with Three Slumbers because of ancient folklore attributed to the Han dynasty. It is said that a willow tree in the shape of a human appeared to sleep and get up three times a day; see for example Sanfu gushi 三輔故事: [3] Weizi 魏紫 (the purple of Wei) and Yaohuang 姚黃 (the yellow of Huang) are both celebrated peony varieties. The former refers to red multifoliate peony cultivated in the mansion of the prime minister Wei Renfu 魏仁溥 (911-969). The Yaohuang, or yellow multifoliate peony, was allegedly cultivated by a family by the surname Yao; see Ouyang Xiu’s 歐陽修 (1007-1072) Luoyang mudanji 洛陽牡丹記:


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