This painting has several meanings. Like many other paintings, it depends on how you look at it. The first meaning addresses the flower which grows from the earth and water. It symbolizes the passive principle and its revelation. The flower’s bell is a reservoir for the rain and dew -- representative of celestial activities. The idea of the gardener is an allusion to the active and creative principles of the Heavens.
The second meaning also addresses the flower, which has always been a symbol of beauty, love, pleasure, and the blooming of feelings and capabilities. In a man’s life, no matter what he does, there is always the woman he loves. Here, he is most likely taking care of flowers and thinking only of her. The butterfly (the moth) is another confirmation of that.
The ancient Chinese believed there were similarities between a moth and a person in love who wants to drink from the flower’s (woman’s) bell.
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