Bamboo

A very important motif in Chinese art, being the symbol of longevity in both Chinese and Japanese systems, and the most frequently portrayed plant form on Chinese porcelain. The bamboo, prunus, and pine together are the emblems of Buddha, Confucius and Lao Tzu, the Three Friends (Savage. 1964). In some parts of Japan, there is a superstition that bamboo will bring death within three years of its planting (Bownas), which is odd, because Japanese mythology has it as generally a lucky symbol, representing tenacity and courage (J Piggott), and, as mentioned, long life, as is the pine. They usually combine the two to decorate gateposts at New Year (Seki).

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