Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Common Motifs: Ayame - Iris

Today's theme, irises or "ayame" アヤメ、菖蒲 is in honor of the upcoming Boys' Day holiday on May 5 (Kodomo no Hi). Technically "Children's Day", it in practice honors boys in the family with carp banners, miniature samurai armor displays, and irises to encourage the strong and healthy growth and success of the family's sons. Girls have already had their day this year with the Hina Matsuri/Girls' Day Festival on March 3.

While in Japan, I was told irises are included in Boys' Day decorations as they're considered by their shape to be a more masculine flower, and so irises on textiles are typically seen as a May/early summer motif. Below are examples of irises/ayame on the back of a men's juban, a fukuro obi, women's haori, and Nagoya obi.

Images copyright Ichiroya and used with permission.

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