The Dragonfly (Tombo) as a Motif in Japanese Art

Tombo are known as Kachimushi or the ‘victory insect.’ The fact that they are quick to attack and catch other small insects in mid air and have such a fierce name, the tombo motif was a favorite among the warrior classes who used it on military implements such as helmets and especially arrow quivers–for both sword and arrow should fly straight and fast like the dragonfly. Tombo were often combined in designs using arrows as well as the iris motif with its straight sword-like leaves.

Hoozuki Ichi Festival Asakusa, Japan

The hoozuki (aka “Demon’s Lantern) plant is the main draw of the Hoozuki Ichi held at the Sensouji Temple in Asakusa, Japan the 9th and 10th of July. In spring small pale yellow green flowers bloom on the hoozuki plant and in summer red seed pods appear that are shaped like tiny lanterns which makes this a favorite plant to celebrate the season. In addition the orange color brings with it good luck. The seed pods are hollow with a small opening on one end which when blown into produces a noise, a favorite pastime of children.

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