Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Lotus & Death & Textiles

At my friends funeral last week a large purple shroud with lotus patterns was held up and its significance explained to the mourners before being placed over his body and before we all gathered around and filled the coffin with flowers before the actual cremation.

Another aspect of Japanese textiles I hadn't given much thought to. Buddhist-influenced funeral related textiles.

Speaking of lotus & death.

Every other year the lotus pots outside the front door need to be turned upside down and the stinky muddy roots untangled and trimmed and replanted. The dirt requires bonemeal and fish fertilizer to grow healthy leaves and flowers.

The love dog of my life, Snoopy, died years back. I had her cremated at a local Zen temple. Just like humans in Japan, her bones are places in a white urn and in a silk lined box. It sounds morbid but I take out a few Snoopy bones and crush them and mix them in the lotus clay every time I re-pot them.

So Snoopy can come back and visit in flower form every summer.

Just as I was sprinkling some Snoopy powder in the pot my friend arrived and she started to shriek!

She thought we were sprinkling my recently deceased neighbor in the pot. 

I quickly let her know it was Snoopy and not Kiyotaka. We had a good laugh.

I remember a lotus stencil I had drawn and was cutting years back. I left it on the floor and Snoopy walked over it and snagged the delicate paper and put holes in it.

It was my stupidity for leaving it on the floor. 

I kept the stencil as it was and used it a few times. I plan to recut it one day.

I used those lotus and their magnificent leaves growing outside the house as motifs for stencils for years. It may be time to use them again this summer when they bloom. 

Lotus flowers grow on the end of long stems like this.

Water lilies bloom near the surface of the water like this:

Lotus season seems far away with a full day of spring snow today. The pets just collapsed near the stove and dreamed of the door back into the spring they were enjoying just days ago.


  1. beautiful in every sense. our friend jean sent me some small snowflake rocks from victoria to put on wendy's cairn. we are stardust amongst the cycle of life.

    1. I am try gin to stretch out my supply of Snoopy bonemeal...
      Joni Mitchell was keeping us warm in the snow just yesterday... feather canyons everywhere...

  2. Bryan, it would be so interesting to know more about the use of textiles in Japanese funerals.
    I do remember Snoopy...

    1. Dear Blandina, I will look into them. I have to search around in Japanese which always takes me longer. Ohh...Snoopy..

  3. ahh, poor Snoopy, I remember him too (hi Blandina) Love the lotus stencil bag - I also remember making a little bag and doing kumihimo cords.

  4. Thanks for your blog and putting the story of the photos in print. x

  5. have no words. in awe of the circle of life.