Literary figures in the traditional age expressed the state of “the scenery coming out of emotions, and emotions coming out of the scenery in poetry” through various images. As the technique of combining emotions and the scene has been used for a long time, ‘the scenery’ and ‘the object’ have also acquired a specific meaning. This aspect of literature especially can be found in Chinese poetry.
This paper examines the expressive patterns of plant images in the works of Heo Nanseolheon and Li Qingzhao, each a representative Korean and Chinese female poet. This research will contribute to understanding the poems of female poets Heo Nanseolheon and Li Qingzhao in more depth. In the research, previous studies on Heo Nanseolheon and Li Qingzhao were thoroughly reviewed, and the number of plant images appearing in the works by Heo Nanseolheon and Li Qingzhao was examined and the most widely used types of plants were identified. Based on this, Chapter 3 compares and analyzes the images of ‘willow (楊柳)’, grass (草), ‘paulownia (梧桐)’, ‘lotus (蓮)’, ‘plum (梅)’, ‘peach (桃),’ ‘cassia (桂)’, ‘beaded (瓊/琪)’, ‘ganoderma lucidum (芝草)’, ‘chrysanthemum (菊)’, which appear more than three times in the works of two poets. As a representative plant image, ‘lotus’ for Heo Nanseolheon and ‘plum’ for Li Qingzhao can be mentioned. This study conducted a detailed analysis of plant image in two poets works that share similarity and difference in terms of expressing willow, grass, paulownia and ‘lotus, plum, peach, cassia, beaded, ganoderma lucidum, chrysanthemum’ respectively. Based on the reviews of plant images, this study examined the literary world of Heo Nanseolheon and Li Qingzhao, two outstanding female poets in the traditional society of Korea and China, respectively. This study of plant images depicts various aspects of pursuing freedom in a world where the two poets were trapped as women, and shows women’s resentment, sorrow, innocence, and self-consciousness resulting from social constraints.