Chi-Jen Liu advocates a peaceful lifestyle and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs as a means to longevity and health. In his mantra charm painting, "Vegan Lifestyle Leads to Health," he invites us to take a close look at an offering of colorful fruits and vegetables and appreciate the benefits that each one provides.
In ancient China, pears were associated with immortality because pear trees live for many years. Apples represent peace and harmony because the Chinese word for apple is "ping" which sounds like the Chinese word for peace. Loquats are a medicinal fruit and used in Chinese medicine to soothe the throat. When combined with other herbs, it is known as "pipa gao," or loquat syrup, which aids digestion and improves respiration.
Oranges represent fortune and abundance because they are golden and look like the sun. They are used medicinally for their ability to regulate "chi" and detoxify the body. Like oranges, persimmons are also beneficial to balance "chi," as they are considered neither yin nor yang (cold nor hot). Bananas help ripen persimmons. They are a natural source of replenishment for active individuals. Bananas can help lower blood pressure and protect the heart. A yellow and ripe banana is symbolic of good health.
The daikon (white radish) and cabbage are both white vegetables with high water content and cooling properties. They symbolize purity of the body and calmness of the mind.
Ancient Chinese historical documents show that chrysanthemums have been prized for hundreds of years. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to cool the body, reduce fever, lower blood pressure, and treat headaches. Chrysanthemum tea is offered to the elderly for pain relief and to enhance their general well-being. These flowers represent blessings for a happy, peaceful retirement and long life. Chi-Jen Liu presents chrysanthemums in a vase because, in Chinese, the word for (flower) vase is "(hua) ping" which also sounds like the word for "peace."
At the bottom of the painting, Chi-Jen Liu summarizes the results of a vegan lifestyle by painting a boat carrying a happy family. They toast to each others' health as the wind fills the sails and carries them smoothly into old age. The boat is made of gold to symbolize wealth and prosperity in one's golden years.