Culture/History

Matsu (“Pine”)

01/30/2020

The pine, “Matsu” in Japanese, is a type of tree that produces cones and its leaves do not fall off in winter. In Japan, the pine tree is known as Eternal Pine, a symbol for longevity and eternity, as it does not change its green color for a thousand years. Because of its longevity and strengths, pine trees represents the belief and determination that never change even under a difficult condition.

Pine trees are often drawn on fusuma (sliding door for partitioning rooms in Japanese houses) in castles by Kano School artists who worked for samurais, Japanese warriors. There are variety of patterns using pine: Wakamatsu (young pine), Oimatsu (elderly pine), Matsuba (pine leaves) and Matsukasa (pine cone).

“Kadomatsu”, gate pine, is placed in front of houses to celebrate new years in Japan, which is believed to bring prosperity and good luck for family and business.

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