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.
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|