Bamboo, wild orchid, chrysanthemum und branches of the plum tree are called in China and Japan the „4 Noble Gentlemen“. Every motive teaches us a new stroke of the brush. It is told by the early Chinese ink artists that all forms of the universe are found in these four motives. Every one of these plants also has a profound philosophical meaning.
Bamboo with its straight, high towering up branches, its evergreen leaves and its amazing flexibility is being compared to a noble person. Its hollow shafts correspond with the buddhistic ideal of the inner emptiness.
The small, plain, wild orchid corresponds with the Eastern ideal picture of a woman. Its long, narrow, often twisted leaves are a sign of elegance and simplicity. It is always offered first as motive to the student.
Until today the Chrysanthemum is the royal symbol of the Japanese emperor-house. Throughout the summer months Japanese homes are decorated with Chrysanthemum in form of ink paintings or as Ikebanas.
The Japanese plum tree can reach an age of up to 300 years. Soft white or pink flowers appear in springtime on its knobby, twisted branches. It is very much adored and symbolises an active, positively turned towards life, elderly person.