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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 751: IV International Symposium on Rose Research and Cultivation

A STUDY ON THE HISTORY OF CHINESE ROSES FROM ANCIENT WORKS AND IMAGES

Author:   G. Wang
Abstract:
Chinese roses were widely cultivated during the Han Dynasty (141-87 BC). In 1759, after Chinese Roses (Rose chinensis) were introduced to western countries, the so-called modern roses appeared. However, what is the origin of the China Rose? When did the “Chinese Modern Rose” with high-centered and double flower emerge? Was the provenance or form of the Chinese rose already been present 600 years ago? What varieties of roses were shown on the ancient paintings and works? A careful study of botanical fossils, ancient painted pottery with colors, frescos, paintings, porcelain, and red wood furniture suggests that Chinese cultivated roses with characteristics of modern roses appeared about 1000 years ago. Furthermore, taxonomically distinct roses appear during various historic periods. Based on new evidence and findings, the development of Chinese roses from ancient civilization to the early phase of the Qing Dynasty (1636 AD) could be divided into five stages: Wild roses (before Han Dynasty, 2000 years ago), cultivation of wild roses (after the Han Dynasty to the early years of Tang Dynasty, 1500 years ago), the Chinese Modern Rose stage (perpetual rose stage) (Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty, 1000 years ago), selection for varieties (Yuan Dynasty to Ming Dynasty, 600 years ago), and popularity in urban and rural settings (Ming Dynasty to the prophase of Qing Dynasty, 400 years ago).
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