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日本の伝統的な江戸時代の文様 / Traditional Japanese patterns & motifs: family crests, heraldry, and symbolism

Meaning of family crests/家紋の意味

日本人の美意識が創造した伝統的な文様 / The aesthetic sensibilities formed in Japan in Edo periods (1568 – 1868)


You have probably looked at many beautiful Japanese fabric patterns, but did you know that many of them have a special meaning or story behind them? I’ve found a good book about these Edo-era motifs and I’d like to share a few here:


Japan’s climate and geography support a rich natural environment, with delightful seasonal changes, and appreciating natural beauty and feeling at one with nature are core elements in Japanese aesthetics. We found them crystallised in the design motifs introduced in this book. The traditional motifs presented in this book are organised in terms of designs derived from natural forms (plants, animals, natural phenomena, man-made objects) and more abstract, symbolic design (geometric, stylised, and auspicious motifs).

出典:日本の文様:Traditional Japanese Patterns and Motifs


Here I show you a few Japanese aesthetics and the meaning behind them.

(1) 戦国武将の家紋 / Family crests of Japanese warriors Samurai



*Ivory patterns on Black fabric.

*Family crests of famous Japanese warriors Samurai [e.g, Hollyhock for Ieyasu Tokugawa family]

(2) 昭和モダン(白) / Vintage Japanese signages (White)



*Black text on the white fabric.

*Vintage signages for Japanese stores [e.g., Soy source, Miso (fermented soybean paste), Seaweed]

(3) 昭和モダン(黒) / Vintage Japanese signages (Black)



*White text on the black fabric.

*Vintage signages for Japanese stores [e.g., Soy source, Miso (fermented soybean paste), Seaweed]

(4) 矢絣 やがすり(エンジ色)/ Arrow feathers (Dark red)






*Dark red & white.

*The pattern called Yamane 矢羽 (arrow-feather) or Yagasuri 矢飛白, 矢絣 (arrow-splash pattern) represents the fletching on an arrow and it has been popular in Japan since the Heian era.

*Originally yabane was used on men’s clothing, because it reminds of archery, but since the Meiji era it has been used as schoolgirls dress (remember Haikarasan ga tooru?).

*Yabane has an auspicious association with weddings, since like an arrow shot from a bow a bride does not return to her parents’ house.

*Yabane is also loosely associated with hamaya, the “demon quelling” arrows sold as good luck charms at shrines at New Years and the broken off fletching of an arrow is widely regarded as a charm for repelling bad luck. ClickHERE to read more details on ‘Arrow feathers’ pattern.

(5) 矢絣 やがすり(紺色)/ Arrow feathers (Navy)


*Navy & white.

 (6) 青海波紋 せいがいはもん / Crescent Waves

 (7) 鯉文 こいもん / Carp

 (8) 麻の葉模様と桜 / Hemp leaf and Cherry blossom

 (9) 麻の葉模様(金)/ Hemp leaf (Gold)

 (10) 立涌文 たてわくもん / Rising steam









(19) 剣の酢漿草 / Wood sorrel

(20) 唐草文 からくさもん / Arabesque


(22) 亀甲文(きっこうもん)、 毘沙門亀甲文(びしゃもんきっこうもん) / Tortoiseshell hxagon, Bishamon hexagon


(24) 籠目文 かごめもん / Woven bamboo

(25) 絞り

(26) 絞り

(27) 絞り



(30) 菱文 ひしもん / Diamond

(31) 麻の葉文 あさのはもん(オレンジ色) / Hemp leaf (Orange)

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