Hanafuda cards

Hanafuda kaarten, uitleg in het Nederlands

Hanafuda cards are age-old Japanese playing cards. I do not know the rules. But they were the inspiration for drawing my own set of cards. I have added my own symbolism and values, partly derived from the used Japanese symbols in the cards.

My cards

My basic rules for the cards: With four cards together symbolise one month and form one landscape. Every landscape containes 4 horizontal lines. On every line there is an element of the landscape, which sometimes means the proportions aren’t right but this is not relevant. Every card measures 9 by 6 centimeter (3,5 by 2,4 inch). One out of the four card has a banner (tanzuka) hanging from the upper line. In it my favoured concept for those four cards is written. Per month the following elements are central (and between the brackets my interpretation and explanation)

January: A red sun, a pine tree and a crane. (resiliance and happiness: especially the first is central to my life.)

February: Flowers of the plum tree, a Japanese Shrub Warbler. (Start over:Just like the flowers, apearing every year. Only one landscape line can be seen here, to create hight in order to watch the bird.)

March: Cherry blossom, a Jin Maku, a curtain used in militairy camps (protection and courage: the cherry blossom seemt delicate but appears every year)

April: Wisteria, bush cuckoo. (being part of: belonging gives meaning and emotions. 2 horizontal lines here)

May: Iris, a zigzag bridge over the water, built from planks (cross over: standing still is ok but it’s important to walk a new path sometimes)

June: Pioeny, butterflies, blue tanzuka. (Change: transformation to something new, to another way of living throughout life.)

Juli: Forest clover, a boar. (Strength and power. Standing firm in a life full of experiences.)

Augustus: Pampas grass, a full moon, (flying) geese. (Harvest: the time and energy put in will result in time and energy later on. The goose in the front is about to fly away.)

September: Chrysanthemum, sake cup, a blue-purple tanzaku. (full of life: nect to the sake cups I’ve drawn a cup of tea with the used teabag. Passing time being together with friends, telling colourfull stories and having something to eat and drink is precious)

October: Colourfull maple leaves, a deer, a blue tanzaku. (mildness: autumn is a time of conteplation, looking back and feeling strong)

November: A willow, man with umbrella, frog, swallow, lightning. (Perseverance: The man has become a woman. There are pollard willows and a weeping willow.

December: Anna Paulownatree, phoenix. (connections. from right to left you see the flowers, the fruits and the seeds of the tree. Just like the firebird is a symbol for the circle of life, where all phases have their own merit.)

Thanks to https://elefantangle.blogspot.com/ for the first step an sites like http://hanafudahawaii.com/gsymbols.html for informationa about the Japanese symbols in the hanafuda cards. During lent 2023 I have been working on these cards. A time of reflection.

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