Recently, when I sold
the print featured on this page, the buyer mentioned a story about the black lilies which I had
never heard. Fortunately she was citing a source which I have -
The black lily or kuro
yuri (黒百合 or くろゆり) which is actually a very deep purple color is found on
several high peaks in Japan. "This black lily has...a sad tradition. A local
lord or Hokuriku district named Takezawa Kumashiro loved a young and
beautiful girl named Sayuri. But he heard a rumor that Sayuryi was really in
love with another man. In a fit of wrath, he killed Sayuri and her lover,
and also punished 16 of their families. The spirit of Sayuri who was killed
by the jealous man was reincarnated as the black lily."
Quote from: Mock Joya's Things Japanese, p.
The Japanese are not
alone in linking flowers to people - either real or mythical. The ancient
Greeks had several examples. Apollo was in love with a youth named Hyacinth
and one day while they were tossing a discus back and forth much the same
way young American men throw frisbees Hyacinth was struck in the head and
died. From his blood which spilled out grew the first hyacinth flower. The
buyer of this print mentioned Narcissus who drowned for lust of himself
after seeing his own reflection in the surface of a pond. Then there is the
religious connection between the Virgin Mary and the white lily. I am sure
there are several other examples, but off hand I can't remember what they
are. If any of you know please get in touch.
To the left is a
photograph of Hyacinthus orientalis 'Woodstock' shown courtesy of
Paghat the Ratgirl at:
She offers a wonderful
quote from John Milton: ""Young Hyacinth, born on Eurotas' strand, Young
Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land."
Paghat's is a
wonderful site well worth a visit. It is much more than a botanical site. It
is literate and fun and a combination of the two makes for a dynamite
For more on the
go to our Kogai thru Kushōjin page.