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.

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