古人真会玩系列之四 – 唐代人最爱的三朵花:有钱花,尽量花,牡丹花 Ancient Chinese Pastimes: Tang dynasty’s ‘Peonymania’

欢迎收看我们的《古人真会玩》节目。

Thank you for tuning in to our program “Ancient Chinese Pastimes”.

我们不是常说嘛,现代人最爱的三朵花是:有钱花、随便花、和尽量花。

You may have heard of the ‘tulipmania’ in 16th-century Netherlands, when tulips became an expensive and highly-sought after luxury item. It is said that the price of a single bulb could cost as much as the yearly income of a skilled artisan.

早在一千多年前的唐朝,人们不仅喜欢这三朵花,还在购买花卉上充分体现了这三朵花的精神。

But, did you know that a similar craze for peonies happened in the Tang dynasty?

今天我们邀请了三位嘉宾,来和大家揭秘唐朝人在买花这方面到底有多“舍得花”。

Today, we have invited three distinguished speakers to our panel. They will reveal just how willingly the Tang dynasty folks splurged on a premium sprig of peonies.

首先,我们来邀请第一位嘉宾,唐玄宗杯斗花大赛冠军,杨贵妃!掌声欢迎。

First, let us invite our very first speaker, Lady Yang, de facto first lady of Tang Xuanzong’s regime. Let us give her a big round of applause!

主持人:““云想衣裳花想容”,久仰芳名,今日终有机会一睹真容,幸会!幸会!贵妃,李白所做的《清平调·禁庭春昼》中有一句,“百草巧求花下斗,只赌珠玑满斗”。您能不能给我们解释下这两句话是什么意思?”

杨贵妃:“这就是说我花费心思“斗百草”,赢了就有一斗的珠宝作为奖品呢!”

主持人:“这“斗百草”是什么意思呢?”

Moderator: “I have heard so much about you, and it is such an honour to meet you in person.

My lady, in Li Bai’s poem “A Tune of Peaceful Joy: A Spring Morning in the Palace”, you engaged in a contest of “a hundred grasses” in exchange for a bet of costly jewels. Can you explain to us what “the contest of a hundred grasses” means?”

杨贵妃:“这是一种游戏,参赛者收集各种花卉草木,以花卉种类的繁多决定胜利者。再挑战点呢,就让参赛者把收集来的花卉名字一一念出,谁收集的花朵最多,而且识得名字的,谁就胜出。”

Lady Yang: “The “Contest of a Hundred Grasses” is a game popular among our people. Participants are required to gather as many plants as they can. The person who collects the largest variety is declared the winner. This game can be made even more challenging by requiring the participants to correctly name their collection.”

主持人:“这么说,唐朝人多少也得懂得一些自然科学知识,对吧?”

Moderator: “If that is the case, you have to be knowledgeable in natural history to win.”

杨贵妃:“嗯呢。还有一种形式,叫“武斗”。 比赛前,参赛者们收集韧性高的草茎,将草茎交叉成“十”型,再用力拉扯,不断者为胜。”

Lady Yang, “Indeed. There is another variant of the game.  Participants intertwine the stem of their plants, and try to pull them apart. The one whose stem doesn’t break is declared the winner. Naturally, the toughness of the stems is an important consideration while selecting your plants.”

主持人:“那你们除了斗花以外,还有没有其他的和花朵有关的娱乐活动?”

Moderator, “What other leisure activities do you carry out with flowers other than these contests?”

杨贵妃:“这当然。我们唐人最爱赏花了。赏花也有讲究的。就好比我哥杨国忠,他以沉香等名贵木材打造了一座赏花阁,以乳香等香料涂抹四壁,牡丹花开时,就邀请各界名流前来赏花。”

Lady Yang, “We Tang dynasty folks love to admire flowers. Some take great pains to enhance the experience. For example, my cousin, Yang Guozhong, went to the extent of constructing a costly pavilion with agarwood for the sole purpose of admiring flowers. He even smeared the walls with frankincense and musk. You can imagine just how lovely it smelled with mingled with the fragrance of peonies in full bloom. Then, he would invite important guests to admire the peonies when they bloomed.”

主持人:“这么说,盖楼的成本要比花卉本身高多了。那么赏花岂不是像你哥那样的大土豪,哦不,有钱人专属了?”

Moderator, “If that’s so, flower admiration must be a costly activity exclusive to the ultra-rich like your cousin.”

杨贵妃:“当然还有更低成本的做法。就是到郊外去,遇见好看的花朵,以下裙为帷幕,当地设宴赏花。再不然就是在特定日子,等官方园圃或寺院对外开放,再一同前往赏花。”

Lady Yang, “Of course, there are less costly ways to go about it. For example, the ladies of Chang’an would organise excursions to the countryside. If they were to chance upon a beautiful flower, they’d host picnics on the spot, using their skirts as a screen. Another option is to admire flowers planted in official gardens or temples on days when they are open to the public.”

主持人:“非常感谢杨贵妃的精彩分享。唐朝人的花卉文化,背后少不了花农们的默默耕耘。 下一位嘉宾就是种花达人郭先生,郭先生种的牡丹花闻名长安,他种的树木哪怕是从外地移植过来,几乎没有不存活的,可谓是花农第一人。掌声欢迎!”

Moderator, “Thank you, Lady Yang, for your delightful snippets of information. Now, we must not forget the flower farmers who made this culture of flower admiration and contests possible. Let us welcome our next speaker, Mr. Guo. He is renowned in Chang’an for his ability to cultivate beautiful peonies. Let’s give him a big hand!”

“郭先生,听说您种的牡丹闻名长安,今天请您和我们观众分享下,这牡丹要种得好,背后有什么诀窍呢?”

“Mr. Guo, your peonies are prized by the citizens of Chang’an. Do you mind sharing the tricks you use to cultivate peonies successfully?”

郭先生:”这牡丹花天生娇贵,不能日晒雨淋,必须养在花棚中。栽培时,得像养育小孩子一样,格外谨慎;栽种后,就让花朵本身顺着天性发育,不要急于求成。千万不要像一些花农那样,等下又用指甲划破树皮,检查树木是否还活着;一下子又摇晃树茎,看看树根是否扎实。这样天天折腾,你说这树怎么受得了?就像培育人才一样…(此处省略N字)

Mr. Guo, “Peonies are delicate by nature and cannot be exposed to harsh weather. It is advisable to grow them in enclosures. During the early stages of cultivation, you have to be careful with them — as if you were raising little children. After that, you must let them be and allow them to grow as nature dictates. Do not try to hasten results. Some farmers intervene too much with their plants; they’d scrape and shake the stems just to ensure their plants are alive and have well-formed roots. How can you expect your plants to flourish if you disturb them in that manner? It’s just like raising children… (several passages omitted)

主持人:“如此精心培植,必能卖得好价?”

Moderator, “You tend to your flowers with such love and care. Are you able to get a good price for them?”

郭先生:“那当然。这种花是一回事,把花千里迢迢地,从花田搬移到花市去,又得格外注意。还是一样搭花棚、围布幔、洒水封土,一样不可少,确保花色能如在花田时一般鲜丽,才能卖得好价。”

Mr. Guo, “Of course. Cultivating the plants is a challenge of its own; but you also have to ensure that the flowers are not damaged when transported from the farms to the flower markets of Chang’an. As before, you have to construct enclosures, water them constantly, and pack their roots with soil. Then the flowers can be sold for a good price.”

主持人:“一般能卖得什么价格呢?”

Moderator, “How much do you usually sell them for?”

郭先生:(讪讪笑着)”这不方便透露,只能说,一束花最高能卖出十户中产阶级家庭一年所缴的赋税了“

Mr. Guo, “(Grins sheepishly) I prefer to not disclose. All I can say is, a good spray of flowers is worth as much as the yearly taxes of ten middle-income family.”

(主持人正欲接话,第三位嘉宾坐不住了)
Before the moderator could speak, the third panelist could no longer contain himself.

”荒唐!荒唐!”

“Ridiculous!”

主持人:“司马先生,稍安,待会儿自有您发言的机会。”

Moderator, “Please remain seated, Mr. Sima. There’s opportunity for you to speak later.”

司马扎:(不理会主持人)“你们放弃耕田,将耕种粮食的土地化为花圃,不种粮食,人民吃啥?这牡丹花能吃啊?”

Sima Za, “(Ignores the moderator) You turn your backs on crop cultivation and convert farms into flower gardens. If you do not plant crops, what are the people supposed to eat? Peonies are no substitute for sorghum and wheat!”

郭先生:“有需求就有供应,没有金主们背后的支持,我们没事种什么花呀?要骂就骂那些沉迷牡丹,攀比成风的贵族土豪们去。”

Mr. Guo, “Supply comes with demand. It is no fault of ours — you should criticise the aristocrats who use peonies as a means to flaunt their status.”

(杨贵妃面露难色)
(Lady Yang looks uneasy)

主持人:“司马先生,您写出《卖花者》一诗,批判花农为了牟利,不种粮食种植花卉的现象。您能否和观众们大概叙述下,大唐的 “牡丹热”达到什么程度?”

Moderator, “Mr. Sima, you are known for your poem “The Flower Sellers”. In it, you criticise the flower farmers for planting flowers instead of crops for profit. Can you briefly describe just how obsessed your people were with peonies?”

司马扎:“除了以上说的价格虚高以外,每到牡丹花开的时候,整个长安就会大塞车。那些种植牡丹的寺院俨然成了网红们的打卡景点,更不用说那些特地为了赏花而砸钱盖楼的人们了。(瞥了杨贵妃一眼)”

Sima Za, “As mentioned, peonies were sold at inflated prices. Apart from that, the entire capital would be jam-packed with horses and carts during peony season. There’d be a huge crowd at monasteries with peonies — very much like how your influencers flock to instagrammable spots. And of course, there are those who’d build costly structures just for the sake of admiring peonies.” (Glances at Lady Yang)

主持人:“感谢司马先生的分享。在结束访谈之前,您还有什么想补充的?”

Moderator, “Thank you for your time. Before we end our session, is there anything else you’d like to add?”

司马扎:“理性消费,切勿盲目跟风!”

Sima Za, “Spend in moderation and do not follow trends blindly!”

主持人:“好吧,感谢我们三位嘉宾。我们的《古人真会玩》节目就此告一段落,接下来我们就是两大传统节日,节目也将围绕这新主题展开,敬请期待!”

Moderator, “That is all for today. A big thank you to all three panelists. Our “Ancient Chinese Pastimes” series has come to an end for now. Next, we will celebrate two traditional festivals. Our programme will be updated accordingly. Thank you for your support!”

编者按:史上确有杨贵妃和司马扎二人,但花农郭先生是我杜撰的,其形象参考了柳宗元的《种树郭橐驼传》。文章只说郭橐驼“种树”,并未提及牡丹,但“以指甲刮树皮”、“摇晃枝干”等都源于文章。在这里和唐代的花农一职整合,以“郭先生”这个形象概括了唐代花农这一群体。
而郭先生部分言论(花价堪比十户赋税)则源自白居易的《买花》

Comments: Lady Yang and Sima Za were actual historical figures. However, I invented the character of Mr. Guo as a stand-in for the flower farmers of the Tang dynasty. His image is loosely based on an essay by Liu Zongyuan, “Guo Tuotuo the Farmer”. The essay mentions that Guo Tuotuo is an excellent farmer but does not mention peonies exclusively. The bits about “scraping and shaking the stems” are inspired by the essay.

The prices of the peonies are taken from BaiJuyi’s poem, “Buying Flowers”. In it, he also provides another reference for the prices of the peonies — 25 rolls of fabric. According to estimates, this is roughly equivalent to 50,000 RMB in today’s value.

参考文献/延伸阅读:
李白《清平调·禁庭春昼》

王仁裕《开元天宝遗事》

白居易《买花》

司马托《卖花者》


论文类:

李漠.唐代牡丹风尚研究[D].辽宁:辽宁大学,2016.

谢斯琪.唐代女性娱乐活动相关问题研究[D].陕西西安:西北大学,2016.

孙玉荣:《论唐代女性的日常休闲活动》,《玉溪师范学院学报》2014年第5期

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