Monday, April 11, 2016

Motifs: Iris (Ayame)

Most appropriate for spring, irises are felt to symbolize good news or glad tidings in Hanakotoba (the Japanese language of flowers).

Ayame yukata worn for Obon 2014.
While many floral motifs are given guidelines for when their appearance is most appropriate, I find that I very seldom adhere to them strictly. For instance, if the pattern is on a yukata, such as the above example, I feel that it is fair game for wearing for the whole of summer (though I would probably not push it past July, which is when Obon falls). If the pattern is more like the example below, then I might wear it even into late summer, because the more dominant motif (to me, at least) are the fan shapes, which are not quite so limited.

Detail of yukata fabric featuring ayame on a fan-shaped motif. 

Up to this point, I've talked a great deal about appropriateness to season, but I haven't really delved much into the meanings behind the floral motifs, either Western or Japanese. For many, the 'language of flowers' is a rather dead one, beyond roses for romance and lilies for mourning, yet so many people have favorite flowers that they may cherish for reasons that go far beyond the traditionally associated symbolism.

My own favorite flower is a favorite not because of what it means (the Western association isn't particularly flattering, though I was pleased to discover that the Japanese association is much more kind) but because of fond memories I have of looking for them to bloom in spring. If my kind readers have similar 'disassociated associations,' I would be most interested to read them in the comments!

For tomorrow's theme, I have had to be somewhat irreverent in the choosing of a motif. I don't have any Juji (cross motifs, also known as 'tens' because of how the numeral is written) in my collection, so we will be discussing the Juxtaposition of motifs!

No comments:

Post a Comment