Japanese Symbolism

03 May 2020
We have a large collection of Japanese printed cottons and we’ve really enjoyed learning about the history of the patterns and the symbolism of the characters.


The Rabbit ‘Usagi’ is thought of as a lucky animal and is a symbol of cleverness and devotion. It is associated with spring with connotations of birth, growth and renewal. Our Japanese Small Rabbit is a small scale multi-directional print on a soft poplin weight cotton, perfect for shirts and dresses.


Waves, or ‘Seigaiha,’ symbolise surges of good luck, power and resilience. Seigaiha Dot is a soft indigo cotton this a small geometric print while Waves is a large scale prints on a crisp textured cotton, for dressmaking and furnishing projects alike.


The Japanese Star depicts ‘Asanoha,’ one of the most tradition Japanese pattern. Asanoha represents hemp leaves which are fast growing and durable, therefore the pattern is commonly associated with children and the hope that they grow strong and healthy.


Japanese folklore state that the lion dogs ‘Shisa’ are wards that protects from evil. Commonly seen as gargoyles or statues that flank the entrance to a home, it is said that Shisa with their mouth open scare away the bad, while Shisa with their mouth closed keep in the good.


The interlocking circles pattern is called Seven Treasures. The geometric flow of the interlinking circles symbolises endless peace and happiness. The square pattern is called Hishi-sayagata and features the Buddhist Manji symbol which represents life and strength.

Visit our Patterned Cottons to view more.