"The Four Gentlemen" or "Four Seasons"
From the basic techniques of Calligraphy, there evolved the difficult forms and styles of all Chinese art. These developed first with the "Bamboo" and "Orchid" subjects. Later ... two other "Gentlemen" evolved. Together, the four subjects or "Gentlemen" (or "Four Seasons") became the important prototypes of the several Chinese Brush Painting Styles.
Thus, "The Four Gentlemen" form the basis of all the complex styles of Chinese brush.
The "Four Gentlemen" are:
(1) "Plum" - Symbol of the "Winter Season" - with its secret promise of "Renewal and Rejuvenation": the perpetual "Continuity & Hardiness of Life".
(2) "Orchid" - Symbol of the perennial "Hope of Spring" and the bright promise of Spring itself, in its "Unity and Modesty".
(3) "Bamboo" - Symbol of "Summer Season," and its "Endurance, Flexibility and Perseverance".
(4) "Chrysanthemum"- Symbol of the "Autumn Season": "The "Triumphant in Life: Persistence, Patience and Fortitude."
Those "Four Gentlemen" are formidable subjects however simple they may seem to the untutored Western eye. Mastery of these demands strict discipline, meticulous adherence to traditional brush stroke techniques, and subtle expression of spirit, not slavish representation of the likeness of the subject. The artist's objective is to follow form by expressing the personality of the subject - in an understated revelation of its inner essence.
Whether you are of the East or West, "The Four Gentlemen" salute you in all the beauty and meaning unique to each of "The Four Seasons".