Orchids as a Symbol in the Chinese Culture

Written by mark bingaman
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Orchids as a Symbol in the Chinese Culture
The orchid holds a special place in Chinese hearts. (Scott Gilbert/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

In short, if it's good, it's associated with the orchid. Chinese culture views the flower as a symbol of beauty, refinement, fertility, virtue and moral character. And Confucius liked it too.


Orchids, known in Chinese as lan hua, are deeply revered in the culture, with a variety of positive attributes assigned to the flower. "The Lan Hua is the emblem of love and beauty, and stands for fragrance and refinement," writes Charles Alfred Speed Williams in "Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs."


The orchid is also a symbol of fertility and is believed to encourage the likelihood of a couple producing multiple offspring. Therefore, the lan hua serves as a popular flower at weddings and baby showers and as a gift for expectant couples. Because of its relevance to grace and beauty, the flower may also be presented as a simple appreciation of friendship.


The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius added to the positive symbolism attached to the orchid, writing of it as a "flower of noble character," according to The Asia Sentinel. He opined that men of noble character should view the orchid as their inspiration for quality living and aspire to release beauty regardless of whether they were credited with doing so.

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