[Description] What is Azami-mon? Thoroughly dissect the thistle pattern in the traditional Japanese pattern!

azami-mon-english-torazou in English
Thistle Pattern 薊文 – Azami Mon –

The thistle is famous for its variety, with over 250 species worldwide, and there are about 100 species growing in Japan. Many of these species are endemic to Japan.
In Japan, the thistle seems to have been used as a pattern for kimono(着物/Japanese traditional clothes) since the Edo period (1603-1868), but the world has loved the thistle for so long that it has become a myth.


What is Thistle(薊/Azami)?

The thistle is a perennial plant in the Asteraceae family.
The flowering period is from May to August.
It is also known as “Mayuhaki”.
A plant with deeply and sharply lobed, thorny leaves and a head of small, narrow, tubular flowers.
There are two theories as to the origin of the name of the thistle flower: one is that it is derived from the old word “azamu”, meaning “to be surprised and amazed”, because the thorns prick one’s hand when one tries to pick or break the flower, and the other is that it is derived from the dialect word “gagami(ガガミ)”, meaning “jagged(ギザギザ/gizagiza)”.

The language of the thistle flower is “independence” “vengeance” “nobility of character” “austerity” “misanthropy”.
The words “independence” and “vengeance” come from the story that when Scotland was attacked by the Norwegians in the night, the Scottish soldiers who trampled on the thistles were able to drive them back and save the country.
This is why the thistle is revered as “the flower that saved Scotland” and is the national flower of Scotland.

Myths involving thistles

Thistle and Greek mythology

When Martel, the goddess of the earth, tried to confide in Daphnis, a shepherd, a poet and musician, Daphnis did not notice her love and passed her by.
Heartbroken, the earth goddess is said to have created the thistle to express her grief.

Thistle and Norse mythology

In Scandinavia, the thistle was used to ward off evil and lightning strikes.
The thistle was believed to be the flower of Thor, the god of thunder, and it was said that Thor protected the thistle.
It was believed that if you wore a thistle, Thor, the god of thunder, would protect you, hence the name thistle plant.
In the West, thistle has long been used as a folk medicine, and it was believed that drinking it in wine would help to drive out melancholy from the body.

Thistle and Christianity

It is said that when the Virgin Mary removed the nails from the cross of the executed Christ and buried them in the ground, thistles grew from them.
This is why it is also known as the Blessed Thistle or the Virgin’s Thistle.

Thistle and German folklore

A farmer came across a wealthy merchant who was walking along a remote road in Mecklenburg. The farmer killed the merchant and took his money.
Finally, the merchant said to the farmer: “The thistles will avenge you” and he died.
After that, the farmer lived in fear every day, afraid that he had committed a murder and that others would take the money he had stolen from the trader.
Unable to bear his crime and fear, the farmer confessed his crime and was executed.
After the farmer’s death, a thistle grew on the spot where the merchant was killed, its buds resembling a man’s head and its branches like hands.

About Thistle Pattern (薊/Azami-mon)




山下 啓介(@bonbonkeitan)がシェアした投稿

Photo From:instagram@bonbonkeitan

Thistle Pattern (薊/Azami-mon) was not used as a pattern until the Momoyama period, but it seems to have come into use as a kimono pattern in the Edo period.
It seems to be a relatively new pattern.

Design using Thistle Pattern (薊/Azami-mon)




Sano Masanao(@seisyodo)がシェアした投稿

Photo From:instagram@seisyodo





Photo From:instagram@yoshikazu1953

*2021/12/28 Updated *


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