Revered for its beauty and medicinal properties, chrysanthemum generally symbolizes joy and longevity in oriental culture. What makes chrysanthemums so exceptional is that the flower blooms in autumn and right into winter.
Because it emerges at the harshest time of the year where most flora and fauna withered away in the cold, the chrysanthemum became associated with tranquility, endurance, and strength.
There is a Chinese Proverb that says, “If you would like to be happy for a lifetime, grow chrysanthemums”. That saying goes to show the special place the flower holds in the Far East. With the formation of its petals resembling sun rays, the chrysanthemum is the emblem of the imperial family in Japan, as the emperor’s position is known as the ‘Chrysanthemum Throne’. In Europe, however, the chrysanthemum is known as the ‘death flower’ that is seen almost exclusively in funerals and graves.
Chrysanthemums are among the most popular motif in body art today, especially in Japanese Irezumi-style tattoo designs. It is often combined with other familiar traditional oriental motifs such as the dragon, koi fish, water, peony and lotus.