Flowers are a universal way to celebrate an occasion, express affection and sympathy, how many occasions can you think of where flowers are the go-to gift?
Lladró’s handmade porcelain flowers are a staple of the brand from bouquets of tiny flowers to statements pieces with stunning true to life details. However, few people know that there is a language of flowers and almost every flower has a unique meaning of its own. What is the hidden meaning behind Lladró’s flowers? Discover how Lladró creates their porcelain flowers petal by petal.
Floriography is the study of the language of flowers and how to communicate using flowers. Many cultures throughout Europe, Africa and Asia have been ascribing symbolism and meaning to specific flowers for thousands of years. We can see this in religious imagery and many religious texts like the Tripitaka Bible, the Vedas and Tanakh ( the Hebrew Bible), just to name a few.
In the 19th Century, Floriography flourished in Europe and the U.S. under the reign of Queen Victoria. Most of us know that the Victorians were not about simply expressing how one felt thanks to the many novels about whirlwind romances being hindered by propriety. Bouquets of flowers and various plant life were acceptable tokens of affection, so it became popular to give flowers with specific arrangements and colours to convey one’s true sentiments to another in a covert and much less scandalous way. The messages behind these floral arrangements would be nearly unintelligible to the untrained eye, as a result many ‘floral dictionaries’ were published for decoding the messages these flowers held with borrowed extensively from cultures around the globe in particular the royal court of Constantinople during the Ottoman Empire where Floriography was a well-established practice.
So now that we know a bit more about what the language of flowers is, can we discover a deeper meaning behind some of Lladró’s most popular flowers?
In Western cultures, white lilies represent, particularly the Eucharis Lily is strongly associated with the Virgin Mary and the Annunciation as seen in Lladró’s Madonna of the Flowers Sculpture, thus chastity, purity and virtue are the most prominent meanings associated with this flower. Why does the Virgin Mary always wear blue?
You can see how these lilies in Lladró’s Madonna of the Flowers Sculpture are used as a visual manifestation of the Virgin Mary’s virtues.
Of course, there are many variations of lilies that grow all over the world with cultures such as China and Japan ascribing their own meaning to species unique to them. In Japan for instance, tiger lilies are symbols of wealth and prosperity, Spider Lillies denoted sweetness and orange lilies which are quite common in Japan represent revenge and hatred. Red Spider Lilies are ominous symbols, representing separation, or that you will never be reunited with someone or something again.
Lladró’s Flowers for Everyone Sculpture show a vast range of flowers, notice the bouquets of Lily of the Valley at the forefront, symbolic of humility and good wishes.
In China, lilies are deeply imbued with meaning and tradition, often being given to women on their birthdays or wedding day as symbols of fortune, happy marriage and many children.
Notice the red rose adorning Lladró’s Nude with Shawl Gres Sculpture.
Likely the most popular flower to give someone and its no wonder, with so many sizes and colour variations they are one of the most versatile flowers for any occasion. It is said that roses were the creation of the Goddess Aphrodite, which the Ancient Greeks and Romans assigned the qualities of love, beauty and admiration to as homage to the goddess. However, roses have been symbols of many things during their long existence, particularly in the West, in Ancient Rome they became associated with the vanity and over-indulgence of the Emperors, much later in England they were politically charged symbols of civil war during the Wars of the Roses of the 15th century and even after.
The meaning of roses and their colours is extensive and their meanings have definitely changed over time, three of the most common colours included red of course, white and pink, they also turn up the most naturally in nature. Today red roses have once again come to symbolise deep romantic love and desire.
White roses as seen on Lladró’s Subtle Moonlight Gres Sculpture can have have a few meanings depending on the context, they are often associated with innocence and purity, usually a popular choice for weddings and baptisms. However, because of Anglo-Saxon influences, white roses can also express condolences, remembrance and even lost innocence, so its not uncommon to see them at funerals or placed over the graves of children.
Lladró’s Rose Ballet Figurine (left).
Pink roses are a popular alternative to red or white roses, often displaying qualities from both, they have come to represent femininity, sweetness, elegance an a gentle spirit. Because of their association with youth and femininity they are often given to a young woman as a ‘sweet 16th’ gift. Lladró’s Rose Ballet Figurine wonderfully conveys the feelings of youth, femininity and grace associated with pink roses as ballet is a discipline that for many is the ultimate expression of femininity.
The Lotus is one of the most popular and recognisable flowers in the world, this flower has deep spiritual meaning to many eastern religions including Chinese, Japanese and Hindu as symbols of purity, rebirth and enlightenment. Many of these cultures see these flowers to be the perfect metaphor for humanity’s potential for greatness. Lotus are admired for their resilience and ability to take root and bloom even in the murkiest waters just like how as people we all struggle but we can also take our experiences and flourish, making the best of what life has given us.
For many thousands of years, orchid have been one the rarest and most coveted flowers in the world, even now they consistently are one of the most highly sought after decorative flowers, with people spending big bucks for the newest hybrids. Because of their rarity, they flowers now carry with many associations with them which vary from colour to colour.
When we think of white, our mind jumps to thoughts of innocence, purity etc. White orchids whilst being symbolic of these things also embody refinement and elegance because of their coveted status through history. White orchids are a popular choice for wedding as opposed to white roses as they convey a unique sense of subtle luxury and sophistication. Lladró’s Orchid Collection perfectly encapsulates all that we associate with orchids. The collection is features statement pieces with handmade orchid flowers that are left untouched and matt, lending to a sense of finesse and elegance that mirrors the qualities of orchids. Discover the fascinating story of the Orchid Collection here.
Lladró’s Orchid Stud Earrings with sterling silver hardware (left); Orchid Necklace is ultimate statement necklace (middle); Lladró’s Orchid Ring features an adjustable band.
Aside from white orchids, pink and purple orchids are two of the most popular colours of orchids with surprisingly rich history and meanings behind them. The two can often be very similar in colour and can achieve some of the brightest pigments, however there is quite a difference in the connotations associated with them. Pink orchids like the one seen resting in the hair of Lladró’s A True Friend Sculpture represent femininity, grace, friendship and tenderness, depending on the context they can also mean fertility. In this case, Lladró’s sculptors chose this flower to further demonstrate the feelings of friendship and warmth between the woman and her horse companion.
As mentioned, pink and purple orchids can frequently resembles each other, purple has long been one of the rarest and most expensive colours in history with garments of purple often reserved exclusively for royalty across many cultures. Its no surprise that the purple variation of this flower which has also been a rarity has strong associations with respect, dignity and luxury.
Flowers can be a wonderful way to express what words cannot alone. Lladró’s handmade porcelain flowers effortlessly enhance the deep history and emotions which their pieces display and for the brand is so well known for.