Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Frontiers in Art Research, 2023, 5(5); doi: 10.25236/FAR.2023.050511.

Exploring the Origin of the Theme of "The Three Plant Friends of Winter" in Traditional Chinese Painting


Ruixue Zhao

Corresponding Author:
Ruixue Zhao

Academy of Arts, West Anhui University, Lu'an, China


In Chinese culture, “the three plant friends of winter” refers to the three plants "pine, bamboo and plum blossoms", which are symbols and imaginative mediums for expressing one's will through objects. They are used in literature, poetry, painting, architecture and other fields to express the pursuit of beauty and spirituality. Since "the three plant friends of winter" are used in a wide range of fields, this paper will only talk about this theme from the evolution of its concept and its use in traditional Chinese painting.


the concept of "the three plant friends of winter", "Bi-de" in Confucianism, traditional Chinese painting

Cite This Paper

Ruixue Zhao. Exploring the Origin of the Theme of "The Three Plant Friends of Winter" in Traditional Chinese Painting. Frontiers in Art Research (2023) Vol. 5, Issue 5: 60-65. https://doi.org/10.25236/FAR.2023.050511.


[1] Cheng Jie. (2007). "Plum blossom Culture Series", China Book Bureau, Beijing, first edition. 

[2] Tremmel M. What to Make of the Five-Paragraph Theme: History of the Genre and Implications.[J]. Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 2011, 39:29-42.

[3] Liu Ziqi. (2017) "Nantian's Painting Postscript: Today's Commentary and Today's Translation" (Yiwen zhi) by Yun Shouping, translated and commented by Liu Ziqi, Hangzhou, Zhejiang People's Fine Arts Publishing House.

[4] Lu Qinli. (1983) "Poems of the First Qin, Han, Wei, Jin, and North and South Dynasties", p. 1751, China Book Bureau. 

[5] "Qin Ding. Ancient and Modern Books Integrated Museums and Herbaceous Dictionaries", vol. 288, Table of Contents, plum blossom Department, Art and Literature III. 

[6] Fu J, Ming L. Plants Arrangement Design in Winter City Based on the Traditional Chinese Garden[C]// International Conference on Civil Engineering & Transportation. 2015.

[7] Qing Dynasty, Yun Bing, The three friends of winter, 17th century, size: 63.5*48.3cm*12, color on silk, 12 pages in total, inscribed: Yun Bing, the female historian of Southern Orchids, respecting the painting. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA  

[8] Qing Dynasty, Yang Jin, scroll of the three friends of winter, ink and wash on paper, 88.3*43 cm, in the collection of the Shanghai Museum. 

[9] Qing Dynasty, Jiang Pu, "the three friends of winter" scroll, ink and wash on paper 157.2*81.9 cm, in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

[10] Southern Song Dynasty, Ma Yuan, "the three friends of winter", vertical scroll, color on silk, 173*83 cm, collection unknown.

[11] Southern Song Dynasty, Zhao Mengjian. "The three friends of winter" album page ink on paper, folding fan 24.3 * 23.3 cm National Palace Museum, Taipei.

[12] "The Analects of Confucius - Zihan", Spring and Autumn Period, Warring States, by the disciples of Confucius and his successors. This book consists of 31 chapters.

[13] Tang "Ritual Justice", Volume 23, "The Thirteen Classic Commentaries", "Ritual Records - Ritual Weapons, Tenth".

[14] Lu Qinli. (1983). The Poems of the Pre-Qin, Han, Wei, Jin, and North and South Dynasties, p. 1272, China Book Bureau.

[15] Wu Qiuxuan. (2009). "An Experiment on the Formal Characteristics and Ideological Connotations of "Bi-de".

[16] Xie Xianmo. "Also on "Three Friends of Pine, Bamboo and Plum blossoms", " Literary Heritage (Beijing), No. 3, 1989.

[17] Zhao Ruixue, "An Exploration of Yun Bing's Style of Gongbi Flower and Bird Painting", Southwest University, 2020.

[18] Zhu Liangzhi. (2020)."A Leaf in a Boat - A Study of Painting and Science", Anhui Literature and Art Publishing House, January.

[19] Zhuo W, Wang L, Zhu X, et al. Characterization of the first chloroplast genome of Dichroa febrifuga and its phylogenetic analysis[J]. Mitochondrial DNA Part B, 2021, 6(10):2991-2992.