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Mainichi Hanafuda: iris animal?

It's weird, but not all the "animal" cards in a hanafuda deck are actually illustrated with pictures of animals! The iris suit serves up the exception to the rule with this card. What we've got here is a dock or plank of some kind over water.

In the same way that white space in a sparse sumi-e painting can evoke the presence of water or clouds, I like to imagine that the animal in this suit is suggested, rather than presented graphically. Perhaps the animal is a fish, or a tiny bug? Notice, however, the red clouds on top of the card. This element is also present on most of the other animals' cards.

1 comment:

Parsa said...

The planks are called "Yatsuhashi", which means eight-plank bridge. It is traditionally flanked by irises (ayame), and is a feature of many Japanese gardens. Many of the images in hanafuda traditionally go together such as the crane and pine, deer and maple, etc.