Susuki 薄 — One of the seven grasses of autumn
Susuki 薄 has many names in English — pampas grass, silver grass, plume grass…However simple it might seem, this grass with its subtle elegance is an important member of the Aki No Nanakusa 秋の七草 (The Seven Grasses of Autumn) that are the main symbol of autumn in Japan. Therefore, susuki often occupies central or even main role in Japanese paintings and as a motif on textiles, such as the one we´ve selected for our jacquard interpretation of a kimono in the Japanese Fusion capsule collection. The elegant pattern of the grass was created using traditional resist-dyeing technique and such textiles normally are used to make unique Haori kimonos — a type of a hip- or thigh-length jacket.
The susuki motif dictates that such kimonos should be worn only in Autumn, from August to October…
In the Heian Period (794 -1185 AD), the presence of The Seven Grasses of Autumn plants in the gardens of the aristocracy was very common. It’s unknown who first put together this group of plants as a representation of autumn, but it has been a classic theme since the oldest Japanese poetry recordings.
Susuki also is closely associated with the moon — at the festival Tsukimi (held to honor the autumn moon), susuki is part of the decoration along with dango dumplings in order to celebrate the beauty of the moon. In the old days the susuki was cultivated in neat arrangements near their houses in every village. Villagers would take turns to harvest it and use it to thatch the roofs of everything from temples to castles to simple barns. It was also commonly used for decorations, as well as feed for the livestock.
One of the best place to see the beautiful fields of susuki are in Hakone, up until November. There is a special guide for all who would like to enjoy the art of susuki-viewing.
Originally published at www.lemiche.com.