The Meanings Behind Traditional Japanese Patterns That Even Japanese People Don't Know!?
The Meanings Behind Traditional Japanese Patterns That Even Japanese People Don't Know!? ~Part.2~
This time in the third part we would like to introduce to you the traditional Japanese patterns with the motif of creatures (plants, flowers, animals and insects) and their symbolism.
Cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan. Because cherry trees usually blossom in spring, the first season of a year, it is a symbol of "beginning" and "abundance".
Pine, bamboo and plum blossom are known as "three friends in cold weather". Pine, bamboo and plum blossom that can withstand freezing cold signify "healthy & longevous", "upright & unyielding" and "honest & clean" respectively.
Speaking of chrysanthemums, you may think of the Double Ninth Festival that using chrysanthemum as decorations to pray for longevity. In addition to being a symbol of longevity, chrysanthemum also has the meaning of free from disease or calamity, warding off evil spirits, and physical and mental stability.
Because of the ancient legend that a crane can live over a thousand years, crane becomes a symbol of longevity. Moreover, a crane has only one companion and mate for life, so it also has the meaning of "perfect couple".
As we all know, mandarin ducks are always in pairs like peas and carrots. So mandarin duck symbolizes "perfect couple" and "love that never changes between couples".
The pronunciation of "goldfish（金鱼, Jin Yu）" in Chinese is the same as that of "surplus of money (金余, Jin Yu)", so it is regarded as a symbol of "fortune" and "wealth".
In the famous story "Carps Jumping over the Dragon Gate", the carp will transform into a dragon if jumping over the dragon gate. Because of this legend, crap is regarded as the symbol of "superiority", "prosperity" and "diligence".
Since the pronunciation of "butterfly（蝶, die）" is the same as the word "elder (耋, die)" in Chinese, which means people around 70 to 80 years old, it is regarded as a symbol of longevity. In Japan, the pattern of butterfly was popular in Nara Period (710 ~ 794 AD), and in Heian Period (794 ~ 1185 AD) it was introduced into the yusoku-monyo of Kuge/court nobles' costume.
As a beneficial insect that eliminates pests, dragonfly is regarded as a symbol of "a golden harvest". In addition, in Japan dragonfly is also called "Kachimushi (insect of victory)", which is very popular among samurais. Therefore, the samurai's weapons and costumes are often decorated with the pattern of dragonfly.
The traditional Japanese patterns with the motif of creatures are not only beautiful and cute, but also with profound meanings, so they are widely used as a variety of symbols!
Then, please look forward to the part four introduction about traditional Japanese patterns!