japanese motifs: the iris

silver edge iris

my little back yard has raised bed planters. somewhere in (what is now) the jungle i planted an iris with a silver edge. possibly my favourite flower of all time.

journal and album with vintage ayame kimono silk | watch this space…

in japanese tradition the iris – ayame, kakitsubata or hanashobu, depending on the varietyis associated with the spring, the warrior spirit, purification and protection in battle and from evil spirits abroad on the 5th day of the 5th month, known as boys’ day – tango no sekku (now children’s day – kodomo no hi).

c19th linen summer kimono – katabira – irises by a bridge | v&a

in fabric design the iris is frequently shown in association with bridges, after a famous section of the c10th tales of ise. the hero travels far to yatsuhashi (“eight bridges”) and is so struck by the beauty of the iris that he composes a poem for his wife, left behind in kyoto. each line of the poem begins with one of the syllables of the flower name ka-ki-tsu-ha(ba)-ta. ever since, kakitsubata and zigzag wooden bridges have been linked as a motif in art and literature.

ayame and kiku (chrysanthemum) kimono silk | watch this space…


find out more: japanese iris

find out more: tango no sekku 

drool a bit and add to your amazon wish list 😀 kimono and the colours of japan


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