This term refers to a literary writing style that is ornate and flowery in diction and excessively detailed and exhaustive in description, in contrast to being”simple and concise.” The tendency to write elaborately about an idea in ornate language first emerged in the Western Jin Dynasty, represented by the writings of Lu Ji. His works were rich in allusions and antitheses, meticulous in diction and description, and elaborate and ornate in style. At the same time, these writings suffered from a lack of clarity and novelty. During the Qi and Liang of the Southern Dynasties, this overly elaborative style was listed as one of the eight major literary styles in Liu Xie’s The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons.
An overly elaborative style is known for its profuse use of allusions and ornate language to generate literary effect, like a tree branching out and a river forking into multiple streams. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)
Sometimes, one can employ flowery language in writing that makes the idea and language of a work mutually reinforcing, creating a refreshing and appealing effect in a consistently colorful style. It can be dazzling and gorgeous like a piece of exquisitely adorned brocade, or sentimental and lingering like an intricate piece of plaintive string music. (Lu Ji: The Art of Writing)