The China Rose – A rose like no other

Traditionally blooms that are most favoured in China are the peony (an emblem of wealth and honor) and the plum blossom because it symbolizes the five blessings (Fu). But what of the China Rose?

mid Dayouxing Tunnel.大you 行 110想64cm Final 2

China Rose Tunnel 164 x 110cm Oil on Canvas

These past two and a half months I have been immersed in the China Rose.

Flowers and plants are infused with all kinds of meaning here in China and have been used to communicate philosophy and even political thought in Chinese Art over the centuries. For example the straight bamboo represented an upright moral gentleman. Confucius compared the orchid to a virtuous man, perfectly cultured and scholarly, representing nobility and friendship. Each flower contains its own symbolism based on the plants health, stage of life, delicacy ect..

1 web large rose 22web Large rose 2 2





Stage A                                                          Stage B


In western culture the rose has symbolic value even in Freemasonry there are 3 roses symbolic of a guiding principle each indicating love, life and abiding light. The rose is carried through Greek mythology, Christian lore. In addition to the symbol of ultimate love and immortal sacrifice it also carries secrets and tacit understanding. The term “sub rosa” where ancient Romans hung roses over meeting tables where anything said beneath the table was to never to be repeated elsewhere.

The China rose was introduced to the European varieties in the 18th and 19th centuries leading to the multitude of hybrids. The China rose gene is thought to be responsible for repeatability of bloom, slender buds that unfurl when opening and the unusual characteristic of darkening with age. The roses in this painting  (called Dayouxing) also have the pointed leaves and similiar to the climbing rose are sprawling upwards, like China finding its place in the light.


In the next few days I will have monoprints of China Roses available for online purchase on this website