The Japanese Iris

dosankodebbie

Sapporo, Japan

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Artist's Description

Shobu (or shoubu), is the Japanese Iris, a flower associated with the Japanese festival commonly known as Kodomo-no-hi or Children’s Day (May 5). In spite of the name, the festival mainly celebrates “boyhood,” the way Hina-matsuri or Doll Day (March 3) celebrates “girlhood.” Along with the koi-nobori (carp windsocks) that I have painted many times in the past, the Japanese Iris is one of several things displayed on Children’s Day that symbolize the traditional “manly virtues” that parents hope their young sons will develop as they grow up to be men. The shape of the narrow leaves of this plant are reminiscent of the Japanese sword carried by the ancient warrior class, and the word Shobu has the same sound as another word that bears the meaning of bravely facing a challenge, or testing oneself in battle.

This was done in sumi ink and Japanese gansai watercolors on a soft washi postcard.

Artwork Comments

  • dosankodebbie
  • Sally Griffin
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  • Robin Monroe
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