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Noble Four Ethos

Our team strives to exemplify the key characteristics set forth in ancient cultures that create the foundation for long term, sustainable achievement. The firm name was derived from how cultures viewed the evolving seasons and the essential attributes required to thrive.

The “Four Gentlemen”, also called the Four Noble Ones or Four Friends, in Asian art refers to four plants: the orchid, or ran; the bamboo; the chrysanthemum, or kiku; and the plum blossom, or ume (italics are in Japanese). The term compares the four plants to Confucianist junzi, or “gentlemen”. A painting or decoration incorporating all four plants is also known as the “Four Gentlemen”. They are most typically depicted in traditional ink and wash painting. The “Four Gentlemen” belong to the category of bird-and-flower painting in Chinese art.

The Four Gentlemen have been used in Chinese painting since the time of the Chinese Song Dynasty (960–1279) because of their refined beauty, and were later adopted by artists in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. As they represent the four different seasons (the plum blossom for winter, the orchid for spring, the Chrysanthemum for autumn, and the bamboo for summer), the four are used to depict the unfolding of the seasons through the year.

Plum

Plum

The plum (ume) represents winter. The plum symbolizes "a man with great character", an active, and positively turned towards life, elderly person. Fragile flowers appear in springtime on its knobby, twisted branches.

Orchid

Orchid

The orchid (ran) represents spring. The graceful wild orchid corresponds with the Eastern ideal picture of a woman. The orchid symbolizes elegance and simplicity.

Bamboo

Bamboo

The bamboo (take) represents summer season. The bamboo symbolizes vitality, enduring strength, integrity. The bamboo has straight, high towering up branches, its evergreen leaves and its amazing flexibility.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

The chrysanthemum (kiku) represents autumn. The chrysanthemum exemplifies admirable qualities. Until today the Chrysanthemum is the royal symbol of the Japanese emperor-house.