Thursday, April 21, 2016

Motifs: Rangiku (Spider Chrysanthemum)

Today, we're a little late in getting posted as I've just returned from an amazing trip to Portland Oregon. I'd made sure to have posts set up for while I was gone, but neglected to have a little buffer for when I returned. Now that I'm back, I hope to continue on track as I've quite enjoyed this challenge and hearing from my kind readers out there who have had a moment to stop by and cause to comment.

Rangiku, or the Spider Chrysanthemum, is another one of my favorite motifs that I have very few of in my collection. As a consequence, some regular chrysanthemum (kiku) will be making an appearance, as I would feel negligent if I did not mention all facets of this very prominent flower motif.

Part of my fondness for rangiku has to do, in all honesty, with anime. Rangiku is the given name of a character in the manga/anime series BLEACH, of which I have been a long-time fan. I found it to be such an unusual name (though giving women flower-names is not an uncommon practice) that I had to look it up and found that it was for an 'unruly' flower.

This kanzashi is now part of my collection. The photo is by the artist ImlothMelui, from whom I have purchased several other quality hair ornaments.

Most often, the chrysanthemum will be portrayed as a compact bundle of petals, either round, or diamond shaped (to fit into hanabishi diamonds), but there are, of course exceptions.

A 'wilder' chrysanthemum motif on faux-shibori yukata.
The yukata pictured above is one of my favorites, and not just because of the motif. It's a faux-shibori print on seersucker fabric, a weave that is light on the skin and absolutely perfect for summer weather. Real shibori would create a similar effect, as the tiny ties used in the dying process create a similar pucker. It seems that I have a fondness for the slightly wilder forms of kiku; I think that I find them a little more expressive than the orderly, compact blooms.

I do have some of the more orderly blooms, though, and the next example doubles down on the chrysanthemum theme.

Lined kimono featuring kiku in pattern and in the weave of the fabric.
Not only does this kimono show the more common kiku with its round shape of dense petals, but if you look closely, you can see that the fabric of the silk is woven with a pattern of much smaller chrysanthemums. It isn't uncommon for there to be patterns woven into the silk, and it is up to the artist to determine how prominent they will be in the finished work.

Traditionally, chrysanthemum are an autumnal theme, but their pervasiveness and importance as a symbol means that they can be found on garments fitting for any season. While the sakura, or cherry blossom, is often held up as a symbol of Japan, it is the chrysanthemum that is found on official seals and is the crest of the royal family.

Tomorrow, we'll be moving out of the garden and having a look at Sensu (Folding Fans). As always, I look forward to comments and questions you, my kind readers, may have!

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