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March 22, 2012

The Pleasures of the Peony: Regarding the Floral Temptress in the Song Dynasty


Detail of hanging scroll, anonymous, ink and color on silk, 12th century (Song dynasty), Taipei: National Palace Museum.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 | 7pm
Helmut Stern Auditorium, U-M Museum of Art
525 S. State St.

Celebrating 90 Years of the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden!

Roslyn Hammers (PhD '02), a U-M History of Art alumna and expert on peonies in Chinese culture, will speak on the various facets of the peony in Song-dynasty Chinese art. The appreciation of the peony has an extensive history in Chinese art and literature, and peonies have always stirred passions. According to Professor Hammers, “as early as the Tang dynasty (618–907) the allure of the peony had become obsessive, bordering on mania.” The temptations of the flower, long associated with feminine seductiveness, compelled poets to write poems extolling its sensuous charms. This presentation explores varying aspects of the Song-dynasty peony as presented in paintings, poetry, and prose in order to reclaim the complexities it evoked as well as to consider the anxieties the peony inspired.

Free and open to the public. A reception to follow.

Sponsored by Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, Center for Chinese Studies, U-M Museum of Art, History of Art, and the Confucius Institute.

From the CCS image archives: The CCS commemorative kite for the September 2011 CCS Kite Festival held in Nichols Arboretum was specially designed by Kitemaster Ha Yiqi with peonies to highlight one of the Arboretum’s main attractions.

Posted by zzhu at March 22, 2012 10:16 PM