2 Replies ・ Started by ZCoupon at 2020-06-08 16:16:17 UTC ・ Last reply by Obiwan at 2020-06-17 21:01:10 UTC
This is a discussion about 花柳

Anyone know the origin of this word?

It appears this term appears also in Mandarin. It's probably been used in CJK for a long time. Does anyone know where this term first appeared?

HataReizu at 2020-06-08 20:23:33 UTC

It appears in 黃庭堅's 《滿庭芳・妓女》、the line being 「初綰雲鬟,才勝羅綺,便嫌柳陌花街。」Unfortunately, I am unable to find an interpretation for it.

Obiwan at 2020-06-17 21:01:10 UTC

I asked my Chinese friend, and he said it means something like:
《滿庭芳・妓女》Satisfying Fragrant Court Prostitute
初綰雲鬟 First wind up cloudy hair
才勝羅綺 then surpass refined silk
便嫌柳陌花街 soon afterward hate the brothel.
The phrase 花柳 comes from 柳陌花街 which literally means 'willow road flower street' but taken together means ‘brothel’.

The quote is basically about a prostitute who dresses up herself, makes her hair as nice and soft as clouds, makes her dress finer than silk, but she detests the brothel, which she calls a flower willow street, supposedly because it is a place where prostitutes gather to make themselves as pretty as flowers. The willow 柳 may refer to weeping willow as the brothel may be a place where the prostitutes weep in shame for selling themselves.
This was written by the Song dynasty poet Huang Tingjian 黃庭堅。

(Based on my understanding of Chinese, this makes sense. But this is just what my Chinese friend said, so you should thank him for the interpretation. I'm just a messenger.)

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