We explored this timeless motif - the chrysanthemum - or kiku - which represents long life and rejuvenation or energy. The Chrysanthemum was adopted by the Imperial Family of Japan as the Imperial Flower and has become a symbol of Japan itself.
We see it everywhere -
I love these vintage bits of indigo katazome (stenciled patterns) featuring kiku:
You can start to see the "fan" appear as the motif gets more simplified:
So when you see something like this, go ahead and think "fan", but know that its origins are in the hearty and elegant chrysanthemum!
A piece like this might be made into a pillow, but a more classic use (lined, or unlined) would be as a furoshiki, or traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. The braided stems are perfect for this use.
I wish I'd taken more photos! Isn't it always a balance between being in the moment and documenting the moment...
In other news... this was yesterday morning. Come on, April, stop with the snow!