In China the ling chih fungus grows on tree trunks and is an emblem of immortality. It grew in the Taoist Isles of the Blest where the deer grazed and as a longevity symbol it often carries one in its mouth. A favourite subject for porcelain since the days of the Emperor K’ang Hsi (Kangxi (1654-1722) has been prunus blossom in white against a pulsating blue ground. It is irregularly divided up by lines to suggest the cracked ice of the thaw. Flowers are associated with each of the months. January, the prunus or plum; February, the peach; March, the tree peony; April, the cherry; May, the magnolia; June, the pomegranate; July, the lotus; August, the quince; September, the mallow; October, the Chrysanthemum; November, the gardenia; December, the poppy. The lotus is associated with Buddha and Kuan-yin while the most ravishing of all flowers the peony represents sexual love and is among the longest-used flowers in ornamental culture.
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.