viernes, 25 de febrero de 2011

The Meaning of the Cherry Blossom Tattoo

Cherry blossom tattoos are some of the most popular tattoo designs for women currently. The beauty and delicate nature of a cherry blossom can't be denied. In both Japanese and Chinese cultures the cherry blossom is full of symbolic meaning and significance.
More often than not, when cherry blossoms appear in tattoo artwork, they do not appear alone. Before deciding to get a cherry blossom tattoo design it makes sense to understand the symbolism and deep cultural connections and meaning that this tattoo might hold. After all the best tattoo designs are ones that hold a great deal of symbolic significance.
While many people tend to blend and confuse the Japanese and Chinese culture together from lack of knowledge the two are very different in many ways. Therefore the meaning and symbolism that the cherry blossom holds is different in each culture.

Japanese Cherry Blossom
For the Japanese the cherry blossom holds very different meaning. The cherry blossom is a very delicate flower that blooms for a very short time. For the Japanese this represents the transience of life. This concept ties in very deeply with the fundamental teachings of Buddhism that state all life is suffering and transitory. The Japanese have long held strong to the Buddhist belief of the transitory nature of life and it is very noble to not get too attached to a particular outcome or not become emotional because it will all pass in time.
Even so, the centuries old Japanese tattoo tradition from which they spring, and where they are still firmly rooted, has essentially formalized their use in that way. But while their ability to stand alone as design elements may have been circumscribed by custom, their powerful symbolism has taken on a life of its own. As Motoori Norinaga, noted Japanese scholar of the 18th century, wrote in a poem, “If I were asked to define the spirit of Japan, I would call it the blossom of the mountain cherry, scattering its scent in the morning sun.” For the Japanese, the beautiful period of its flowering and then the all too soon fading and subsequent scattering of petals on the wind, symbolizes life itself - but not life in some abstract and distant sense. The fragility of the cherry blossom is the fragility of human existence; its brief period of life, like our own; its implacable movement toward death, indifferent to the good things of this world, is the ideal death for a samurai warrior; and finally, its individual and perfect beauty is also ours. Poignant for some but hopeful for others, the symbolism of this staple in tattoo artwork seems almost more than a single flower could bear. However, like powerful tattoo symbols everywhere, it seems to shoulder the burden naturally.
The fallen cherry blossom is not taken lightly in Japanese symbolism either. It often represents the beauty of snow and there are many connections made in Japanese literature or poetry to a fallen cherry blossom and snow. This also has been extended to the life of a warrior whose life was ended early in battle.