Japanese Family Crests

"Japanese family crests represent the essence of the katachi, the concise forms that have been handed down intact through many centuries to the present day. Simplicity and directness are the qualities that constitute the beauty of these crests. They embrace a wide range of subjects plants, animals, natural phenomena and even articles of everyday life reaching an amazing total of over five thousand designs. Floral patterns include motifs which are considered typically Japanese, in particular the chrysanthemum, wild pink, morning glory, bluebell, lotus, cherry blossom, plum blossom and narcissus. Some familiar domestic articles, such as candles, spools, feather brushes, scissors, sake flasks, keys, pincers and coins are also employed. Even houses and boats are represented. Amongst crests derived from fauna, the pigeon, hawk, sparrow, crane, wild goose, butterfly, rabbit, horse, tortoise, shell and crab are frequently used. Crops are also portrayed, for example egg plant, beans, millet, rice and grapes. Themes drawn from natural phenomena are based on the sun, the moon and the stars, on clouds, snow, waves and thunder."—Yusaku Kamekura, Graphis, No. 138/139, pp. 316-317