Dec 19, 2009

A symbol of peace and harmony

When trade opened between Japan and the West in the mid-19th century, Japanese motifs began to be incorporated into European design. Often these Oriental-inspired designs pulled motifs from all Eastern cultures.
One popular motif was the crane which is the Japanese symbol of peace in harmony. The first fabric pictured below is a unusual 19th century toile that features the crane as well as a bonsai tree and a Phoenix. The second print has a black background and uses cartouches to showcase the crane. The theme is completed with porcelain vases, a Phoenix and an Oriental temple, surrounded by exotic flowers.

The next three are all 1920s-era Art Deco fabrics.  The first depicts cranes, sunbursts and bonsai trees on a pale background. The second, with the dark reddish background has chosen to mix cranes in flight with swirling tsunami waves. The third fabric pairs the crane with the Japanese rising sun and wispy clouds. I include a close-up of this fabric. Best wishes for peace and harmony to everyone.

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