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The Japanese Iris by dosankodebbie

Photographic Prints

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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.

I am a professional Japanese-to-English translator and an Etegami artist. Etegami is a traditional Japanese folk art that combines thoughtful words with simple images painted on washi paper.

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  • dosankodebbie
    dosankodebbieover 2 years ago

  • Sally Griffin
    Sally Griffinover 2 years ago

    so interesting, Debbie! simply elegant

  • Thanks, Sally. The iris is lovely in the wild. And I just loooove blue-toned flowers (purple tinged with blue counts).

    – dosankodebbie

  • judygal
    judygalover 2 years ago

  • Albert
    Albertover 2 years ago

    Well done Debbie.

  • Thank you, Albert. I’, so glad you like it. :)

    – dosankodebbie

  • maggie326
    maggie326over 2 years ago

    wonderful work

  • You are very kind. Thank you.

    – dosankodebbie

  • Robin Monroe
    Robin Monroeover 2 years ago

    love your inspirational work:)

  • I’m glad if you can find inspiration in it. Thanks!

    – dosankodebbie

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