The flowers capture our attention with their grace
Behind every flower and the Peony Tattoo Meaning in this case, there is a story, because a flower is not just an image but a word transmitted with docility, hidden behind a symbol.
This is the case of the Peony, a beautiful and majestic flower with the reputation of being a “capricious” flower because it is difficult to grow. Native to China, from Asia to Europe, from antiquity to the present day, the peony never ceases to enchant us with the sublime elegance of its flowers.
The Myths around the Peony
According to the myth, it was the only flower to be cultivated in the Olympus of the Gods because it has always been associated with immortality and to perfection.
The birth of the peony was at the centre of many different versions in Greek mythology. Paeon (Paean, Paieon, Paeeon, Paion or Paian), a pupil of Asclepius (Aesculapius for the Romans), the Greek god of medicine, was transformed into a peony flower by Zeus – god of heaven and thunder, governor of Mount Olympus, pitiful mediator in the rivalries between gods – to save him from the evil wrath of the master, envious of his great talent.
In a further version, Paeon became a peony after having given Leto the juice to drink (Latona for the Romans) to help her give birth to the twins Apollo and Artemis in spite of difficult birth. In another myth, instead, Paeon, doctor of the gods, obtained the peony from Leto, mother of Apollo – god of medicine, truth and art – on Mount Olympus.
Another legend says that Apollo did not like his sister Diana, the goddess of the moon, a famous huntress of renowned bow and arrow skills, to have fallen in love with Orion, son of Neptune, god of the sea.
Mouse and Peony by Lorena Morato
Peony Tattoo Meaning
One day, Apollo challenged Diana to try to hit a figure who was walking on the horizon. When Diana realized she had hit and killed the beloved with a single shot, where her tears of pain fell, beautiful peonies were born and she placed Orion among the stars in memory of her love.
Another story tells that the timid nymphs hid their nakedness among the petals of the peonies. This is why peony is the symbol of the sense of shame or shyness, according to the language of flowers.
Peony Knee Tattoo by YoungBlood
Peony Tattoo Meaning
A cure to 20+ Deseases
The Romans treated more than 20 diseases with peony. It was called ‘blessed grass’ for the magical and miraculous powers that were attributed to it against demons, witches, storms, the evil eye to protect the crop, the shepherds and their flocks.
Known since ancient times for their medicinal virtues, it was Teofrasto who first spoke of the peonies, not because of the beauty of the flowers, but as an excellent remedy against epilepsy.
During the Middle Ages, in Europe, the peony was used at the time of birth to keep away evil spirits, but also for medicinal use in case of jaundice, gallstones, seizures, teething pains and snake bites.
Peony seeds were ingested whole to avoid bad dreams or used as a poultice to relieve stomach pains; with the dried petals a calming tea was prepared for the cough.
In England, children wore necklaces with peony root to prevent seizures and to alleviate teething pain.
The Chinese emperors depicted it on precious porcelain and they covered anyone with a new variety with gold. For this reason, the symbolism of the peony also includes nobility, honour and wealth. In 1903, the Qing dynasty declared the peony to be the state flower.
Shrub peonies arrive in Europe in the second half of the 18th century, imported for the London royal gardens Kew Gardens. England first cultivated them and then bred them, and in Victorian times they indicated shyness, a peaceful life and a happy marriage.
Some believe that if the peony bush that we have in our garden is full of flowers, it will bring good luck, but if the leaves dry up and the flowers fade, means a disaster is coming. Even an odd number of blooms is considered predictive of bad luck.
Alongside the classic, romantic pink and pastel peonies in vogue in the nineteenth century, there are original peonies on the bright tones of yellow or streaked with red.
Rose without Thorns
Showy, luxuriant, elegant, it embodies love and affection, prosperity, honour, value, nobility of soul and, in full bloom, peace but only when the flower is in full bloom.
Delicately scented, it is called “rose without thorns” by Europeans, a symbol of romantic love stories, often used for weddings. The peony celebrates the 12th wedding anniversary because it symbolizes a happy relationship.
It represents ideas and values like honour, wealth, romantic love, with particular attention to the love between two strangers, beauty in all forms, shyness.
According to the traditional Chinese meaning of the complementarity of opposites, the peony has a positive influence on women and men as regards their living together in harmony.
To create good Feng Shui energy, when looking for a faithful and loving companion, a painting depicting Chinese peonies or a vase of these flowers should be placed in the Southwest corner of your bedroom to attract the ideal partner, to improve the sentimental situation and to lead or maintain a happy marriage.
The paintings that represent it are hung in the house as a lucky charm and in the office to conclude good deals.
Peony and Falcon Tattoo by Tim Tavaria
Peony Tattoo Meaning
Among the Chinese depictions of the seasons, the peony corresponds to the late spring-early summer, along with the lotus, chrysanthemums, plum blossoms and becomes a metaphor for female beauty and reproduction. Vibrant and lively plant, full of magnificent flowers and green leaves, it is often combined with birds and bamboo depictions.
It is said that peonies also represent female beauty and fertility. As for the negative connotation of the peony, it could mean indignation and shame not intended, the latter, as timidity.
Illustration from the series “The 108 heroes of Suikoden” (1827) by Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Peony Tattoo Meaning
Peony flowers are widely represented in Chinese and Japanese painting and widely used in tattoos, especially those in the oriental style inspired by the illustrations of the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), in particular the prints of the series “The 108 heroes of Suikoden“(1827), based on a Chinese story of the fourteenth century, which gave it notoriety.
The outlaws of the story went against the injustice of the corrupt authorities and were covered with pictorial tattoos with peonies, lions, tigers, dragons and koi carps.
The association of the peony with the dragon or the lion attenuates the ferocity and the power and in any case for the Japanese the popular use of peonies in the tattoo indicates the male power.
The Colours of the Peony
Each colour carries a different energy and gives this flower a different meaning.
- White Peony
The white peony flower symbolizes purity of the girls who stand out not only for their beauty, but above all for their wit. Freshness and a clean soul, positivity, great energy, freedom, peace and light. This colour radiates positive energy.
The white colour also symbolizes knowledge and progress.
- Red Peony
Honour, respect, respect for strong bonds. Wealth and prosperity.
The red colour is also the symbol of erotic femininity, of the female genitals.
- Pink Peony
A pair of pink peonies is an energetic catalyst, it improves love and promotes romance. Shyness, innocence, uniqueness and femininity. This colour inspires relaxation, peace and through the pink peony people express their positive and calm character.
Mental peace, positivity towards life events.
- Yellow Peony
Wish of good luck and life force, energy and new beginning, but it also represents carefree youth. In a negative sense it represents anger, the desire for revenge.
The yellow peony represents the artistic soul and people who can enjoy life.
Peonies and Butterfly by Katsushika Hokusai (1832)
Peony Tattoo Meaning
- Striped Peony
Prosperity and strength. Your actions are reflected on yourself and others for who always tries to act honourably and respectfully.
- Intense Rose or Fuchsia Peony
Symbol of originality and represents a strong and secure temper. This colour brings a lot of positive energy and pleasant emotions.
A peony is shaped like a tea cup when it is not fully flowered. It’s also as big as a tea cup before it opens completely.