Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lotus symbol in Korean culture .....

In traditional Korean Hanji art you can see many different designs of plants, animals, letters and insects. I'm sure you've wondered what they all symbolise as they are repeated so often and in many different ways. 

In this post I just want to take a brief look at the lotus plant and what it symbolises for the Korean people. I've used this design on a few articles but I never really knew the full meaning of what it represented until I started doing some research for my book.  Even though many of us aren't Korean we can still use these designs and in so doing, translate a deeper meaning to our articles. Here are a just a few of my favourites from the easiest to the more difficult to cut out.

The lotus flower symbolises creation, birth, liveability and reproduction and therefore it's one of the most  important symbols in both Korean culture and its traditional religions.

In both Confucianism and Buddhism the lotus flower is seen as a symbol of honest poverty and virtue associated with an aloofness. Poverty and virtue come from the fact that lotus flowers grow in muddy and dirty waters and yet it still has such beauty. It makes no pretence of being better than it is and yet it's naturally beautiful.

When the lotus flower is depicted on an object and given to a young couple along with two mandarin ducks it symbolises happiness for the young couple and its one of the  traditions that is still practiced  in modern Korea today.

Cutting out a lotus and duck design
When there is a lotus flower and a fish it symbolise affluence in material things and a sense of mental relaxation.

Because  the lotus plant bears flowers and fruit at the same time, where most plants only bear fruit after the flowers are gone, another symbolism of this plant is that you will have offspring consecutively. 

If a child is seen playing near a lotus patch and holding a lotus flower it symbolises the birth of a precious child. 

Lotus lantern in a Buddhist temple
There are probably many more meanings to the symbol of the lotus flower but this gives you an idea of some of them and the importance in Korean culture that is placed on ensuring everything possible is done to encourage the positive aspects of life.


  1. Glad to know about traditional Korean Hanji art. I have experienced some traditional Korean antiques before.

    Thanks for sharing

  2. My sister and I have fallen in love with the Korean Hanbok. I'm making my sister one for her birthday and she requested to know the meanings of the embroidery. Do you know what peonies and butterflies mean?

  3. What is the flower Lotus called in Korean?


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