December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

A traditional Japanese motif seen during the end of December until the middle of January  is "Sho Chiku Bai", or plum, bamboo, and pine. This image above is from a lacquer tray available from Rakuten.  
Although there are many interpretations of the symbolism of these three plants, the pine tree is often used to symbolize constancy and steadfastness since it is evergreen even in winter; the plum is perseverance and renewal since it often blossoms while there is still snow on the ground in early spring; and bamboo for resilience and strength. Branches of these thee plants are often tied together in what is called a kadomatsu, something that looks a lot like an ikebana flower arrangement that is often seen in pairs outside the entrance to a house.
Kadomatsu featuring Cho shiku bai.

Sho Chiku Bai is also a popular brand of inexpensive sake. Sometimes this image is found on Japanese textiles, including obi and kimono. Unfortunately, I have neither with these motifs in my kimono collection. Maybe someday I will have the appropriate kimono to wear for the new year!
With this rather short entry, I wish all my readers a prosperous and very happy new year to all!

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