Things Japanese XIV
November 14, 2010 by sevenbrane
Chrysanthemums on display at Senso-ji
It’s that time of year again when any self-respecting temple in Japan puts on its Chrysanthemum
exhibition. Don’t think of the cheerful smallish autumn flowers. No. Think of something that looks like it’s coming straight out of a nuclear experimentation facility. The prize specimens featured at these popular exhibitions stand more than one meter tall (assisted by a wire cage to keep them upright and some sort of wire plate to support the bloom). And the flower itself has the size (and possibly also the look) of a small cabbage. The esthetical merits may be open to discussion. Personally, the adjective that comes to mind is more intimidating
. But they have their own strange attraction and it has to be admitted that they demonstrate impressively how far plant cultivation can lead away from the original wildflower.
In Japan, the chrysanthemum is moreover associated to the emperor. The imperial seal has the shape of a chrysanthemum blossom (adorning the front cover of any Japanese passport) and the imperial throne is referred to as the Chrysanthemum Throne