Friday, April 29, 2016

Motifs: Yabane (Arrow Fletching)

As a representational motif or striking (pardon the pun) geometric, yabane can be one of the more versatile motifs in a collection. Since it is a 'man-made' motif and usually geometric in execution, it doesn't really have seasonal associations which further lends to its versatility. Like many motifs, there are exceptions, like a yaguruma (arrow fletching pinwheel) configuration which is heavily associated with Kodomo no Hi, or Children's Day (May 5).

Yabane are considered to be very auspicious; fletching from a broken arrow is often used as a talisman against bad luck. This particular aspect makes it a good choice for accessories, like the kinchaku pictured below.

With geometric patterning and classic red/white color combo, this can be paired with practically any ensemble.

My most interesting examples of this motif come from the kimono of some of my ningyou. My first example is the top worn by my somewhat rakish samurai who wields the fan more freely than the sword

This ningyo was bought at a sale supporting the Yu Ai Kai in San Jose's Japantown.

In this example, the fletching and part of the arrow shaft are represented and scattered over a field of purple. While it's a very interesting pattern, it is not one that I have personally encountered on a full-scale kimono. Far more common is the geometric rendering of the yabane, like my first example and as shown in the images below.

This lovely lady was purchased at a thrift store in Willow Glen, CA.

A clear example of what sun exposure can do to fabrics. The purple of her kimono was likely just as vivid as the samurai's, if not moreso.

When I first saw this lovely lady, I was quite charmed, and very taken with how strikingly pale her kimono was, and how subtle the patterning. As the coloring was so uniform, it didn't occur to me until I got her home and was able to take a closer look that what I considered striking, others would see as sun damage. The second image illustrates very well what the original color of her kimono would have been, and might suggest why she found herself in a thrift store. I know very little about her though her kanzashi and the positioning of her hands suggest to me that she is depicting a dance. If my kind readers have any further speculation or suggestions, I should love to read them!

You may remember the following example from earlier this month, wen we were discussing ajisai (hydrangea).

The yabane here is the 'plain' side of a reversible obi.
This obi was a gift and its reversible nature has made it a valuable addition to my collection. The pattern of the visible side here is created within the weave of the fabric, so it is a subtle color shift and a great compliment to many 'busier' yukata.

We have just one more day of the A-to-Z challenge, and I hope that you'll join me tomorrow for our final motif!

1 comment:

  1. Or she might be communicating silently to someone with her fingers?