Noilly Prattle: 謹賀新年 – HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

謹賀新年 – HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015

   There is a traditional New Year's decoration in Japan called a kadomatsu [門松], which literally means “gate pine”. They are placed in pairs at the entrance to the home to welcome ancestral harvest spirits or kami. A core of three bamboo shoots cut to different lengths is decorated typically with pine and other plant materials depending on the region. Just as traditional Japanese Ikebana is based on three branches of different lengths, the bamboo shoots in a kadomatsu are cut on an angle to three different lengths that represent heaven, man and earth with heaven being the highest and earth the lowest.

   Not being particularly traditionalist we decided to play around with combining the kadomatsu concept and Ikebana. While walking in the wooded area around our house a few days ago we cut a type of Magnolia branch that was still in the early bud phase to use with a bamboo shoot that I had cut a few weeks ago. We decided to do the arrangement this morning in time for the New Year. After cutting some Nandina berries on another walk in the neighborhood we decided to do the arrangement without any vases since a vase would have detracted from the simplicity and the Magnolia wouldn't bloom this early anyhow. A notch cut into the bamboo served as a small water reservoir for the Nandina berries. The rest is free standing and balanced on the two main elements.

bamboo shoot, Magnolia branch and Nandina berries

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