Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The Story of Butterfly Symbolism in Asia
Issue #16 of Asian Fabric magazine is at the printer. As I promised in a previous post, I wanted to give you some information on the symbolic meanings of the butterfly in Asia.
You’ll find instructions for the Chocho Quilt (pictured here) beginning on page 24 of Issue #16. It's always more fun if you have a story to tell with your quilt.
In Japanese culture, butterflies carry a great number of meanings. Their most apparent symbolism is that of metamorphosis or transformation; they are specifically representative of those who have died as they are thought to carry the recently departed spirits.
Butterflies also symbolize spring, and both the Chinese and Japanese generally view them as symbols of happiness and joy. They are a very popular motif in Japan, and a great number of traditional family crests (Kamon) utilize the butterfly in their designs. They’re also one of the most popular motifs in Kona Bay fabric designs.
Often associated with traditional Shinto weddings, butterflies are seen adorning the sake flasks and containers that play such a prominent role in the ceremony and are thought to symbolize happiness within marriage as well as womanhood. There is even an old Japanese custom of sending two large paper butterflies as a wedding gift.
One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guestroom and perches behind a bamboo screen, the person whom you most love is coming to see you. Butterflies are also often seen as messengers, and in following them one will be lead to a mystery’s end.
Watch for issue #16 of Asian Fabric at your local quilt shop. Be sure to fill out the survey on page 11 and 12, too! Send in your completed survey and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win several prizes of Kona Bay fabrics. And, remember, I love seeing photos when our readers have made projects out of the magazine, even when you prepare the recipes! It's a fun issue—don't miss it!