Feb 28, 2014

Asano clan (Japan)

I've recently watched the 47 Ronin (2013) movie, and some flags that appeared on movie attracted my attention. Don't worry, no spoilers!

One of the patterns that appear more often on the movie is, as I was found on my research, the mon of the Asano clan. Asano Naganori was the daimyo of the samurais that would, during the movie, became the forty-seven ronin (masterless samurai) of the title; it was usual to commoners without mon to use those of their patrons or organization. That mon consists of falcon feathers in saltire; falcon feathers were a popular pattern for being used in arrows, and in decoration for some special occasion.

Many flags with this mon appear on the movie, for example on this scene (don't know about historical accuracy). Here's one of those flags I reconstructed:

Japanese mons are used even today as symbol of a family, organization or clan (similarly to Western coats of arms and badges), and are very simple and monochromatic. They commonly appear in architecture, personal marks and, on the age of the samurai, flags, specially during the battles.

The mon were excellent during samurai battles, as their simple designs could be easily used to distinguish friends and foes. As explained on a previous post, the Japanese mon is the base of the Japanese flags tradition.

Comments are welcome.

Feb 17, 2014

Sochi (Krasnodar, Russia)

Winter Olympic Games are occurring right now, and it's a good occasion to review the flag of the Sochi, the host city, that's rarely appearing on media coverage. This flag:

The flag is inspired on the coat of arms of Sochi, that has origins on a Soviet-era coat of arms (later re-adopted, without the hammer, the sickle and other ornaments), therefrom the very abstract representation that's considered bad heraldry. It could be a good logo to a resort city like Sochi, but not a flag or coat of arms.

And what all those thingies on the flag represent? Each quarter represents one of four administrative areas of the city: the snow mountains represent the ski resorts of Adler district; the palm tree represent the Khostinsky district, that includes the biggest arboretum of Russia; the sun represents the Central district an its development, but also the beach season that lasts about ten months; the wavy line represents the Black Sea coast on Lazarev district. On the center of the flag, a bowl of flaming water, representing the spa resort on Matsesta river: Matsesta means "flaming water", because of the skin redness caused by the therapeutic factors present on its waters.

Well, the flag of Sochi leaves the good impression that Sochi is much more than Winter Olympics. We all hope it is!

Comments are welcome.