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Chinese Paintings Bamboo Meanings

Bamboo is commonly known as the "friend of China", and, together with Pine and Plum trees, is also known as one of the "three friends of winter". These three are often depicted both together and separately in traditional Chinese paintings. As Bamboo does not die in the winter but remains upright and evergreen even in very cold weather it has come to be known as a sign meaning long friendship and as a bringer of happiness.

Also, Bamboo symbolises the perfect one, the one who like the pliant but resilient trunk of the Bamboo, bends to the times, adapts themselves to society, but retains unaffected within themselves their moral character. It is said that the leaves of the bamboo droop because its inside, its heart, is empty, and so symbolises modesty which is understood as equivalent to an empty heart. All in all bamboo has the characteristics of strength, ideality, modesty, nobility and gentleness.

Bamboo gives maximum opportunity for artists to display their brushwork within a Chinese painting, to capture the bamboo stalk in a few quick strokes, and is the theme perhaps most closely related to calligraphy.

View our collection of Chinese Bamboo Paintings here or individual bamboo paintings by clicking on a link below.