[Description] What is Aoi-mon? Thoroughly dissecting the hollyhock in the traditional Japanese pattern!

aoi-mon-english in English
Hollyhock Pattern 葵文 – Aoi Mon –

It is a pattern of leaves of two-leaf hollyhock.
There are “Tate-Aoi(立葵)”, “Aoi-Tomoe(葵巴)” and “Aoi-Arakusa(葵唐草)” depending on the shape and combination, and they are still widely used for kimono and obi.


What is Hollyhock(葵/Aoi)?

The hollyhock is endemic to Japan and is a perennial plant of Aristolochiaceae, also famous for its horticultural and medicinal uses.
It flowers from March to May, with reddish-brown or purplish-brown flowers.
It is also known as “Futaba Aoi(双葉葵)” and “Kamo Aoi(賀茂葵)”.
The language of flowers is “careful love”.
In some areas of Japan, it is listed as an endangered species.

About Hollyhock Pattern (葵文/Aoi-mon)


Photo From:フリー素材サイト発光大王堂

The Aoi Sai (葵祭/Aoi Festival), held in Kyoto every year on 15 May, is one of the three major festivals in Kyoto that have been held since the Heian period (794-1185).
Aoi Sai (葵祭/Aoi Festival) is one of the three major festivals in Kyoto that has been held since the Heian period (794-1185). The festival is held from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to Kamo Mioya Shrine (賀茂御祖神社/下鴨神社) and Kamo Wakei Kazuti Shrine (賀茂別雷神社/上賀茂神社) with a procession of Gosho carts decorated with hollyhock leaves to pray for a good harvest.
This is a wonderful festival with an elegant procession.

All of these palanquins and cars are decorated with leaves of hollyhock, mainly Futaba-Aoi(双葉葵).
The motif of Futaba-Aoi is also the motif of “Aoi no Gomon(葵の御紋)” and “Mitsuba-Aoi(三葉葵)” which are also known as the family crest of Tokugawa family. (See the image)

In the Edo period, the use of hollyhock pattern was strictly prohibited.
Why did Tokugawa adopt the weed, hollyhock, as the family crest?
It is said that he likened the development of the family to the strength and vitality of hollyhock, which grows its roots as if crawling on the ground.

Design using Hollyhock Pattern(葵文/Aoi-mon)

橋口五葉 「温泉宿」 (1920)Hashiguchi Goyo ‘hot spring inn’ (1920)/橋口五葉 「温泉宿」 (1920)
Photo From:パブリックドメインQ:著作権フリー画像素材集

Photo From:instagram@kyogozan




Photo From:instagram@orimoto.toyonaka

Photo From:ビバ!江戸


*2021/12/28 Updated *


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