Chinese gardeners have been growing tree peonies for over a thousand years, so have Chinese painters been using them as inspiration for centuries. Traditionally these paintings were executed in water colors on rice paper in what is known as the “national-style painting” (guohua). Chinese painters always took some artistic license in depicting peonies; painting fantastical blue peonies or tree peonies with many different colored flowers on a single branch. From the Song to the Qing dynasties, a basic style prevailed in peony paintings. As modern China began to emerge from the war and revolution of the 20th century, artists pushed traditional artistic styles; lines became blurred and less uniform. The unbounded look executed by these modern artists are an expression of cultural continuity in which the “national-style painting” continued to depict tree peonies, the “national flower.” Since China’s economic resurgence in the 1980s, painters continued to explore new styles, but also have harkened back to more traditional motifs. If history serves as any guide, its likely that tree peonies with their luscious, silken flowers will continue to enchant artists as well as gardeners in both China and the rest of the world for centuries to come.