I finished this just in time for the Solemnity of the Feast Day of the Mother of God.
It is a depiction of the Annunciation done in a Japanese style.The blessed mother here is portrayed as a young Japanese girl humbly giving her reply to the angel, dressed here as a Japanese prince. I included as much symbolism in the piece as possible.
The Angel, has no wings, only a halo to distinguish his heavenly origin. He wears armor to show his strength and a whitish sash to show his purity. His outer robe is black which is colored inside orange. His sleeves are white and his under robe is blue with white sunflowers. In Japanese culture black paired with other colors symbolizes a happy occasion, usually a wedding. Black can also indicate high position. Colors, like blue and white used as a color scheme in many kimonos and even dishware is used to symbolize the coming of spring. He holds a stem of lilies in his left hand. tied to the Virgin Mary, the white lily represents virtue and conveys sweetness and humility. In the language of flowers, this May flower expresses purity of heart, majesty and honor. He wears an ancient officials hat. The Blessed Mothers Robes are those of a Princess. A golden halo surrounds her head and a golden flame hangs above Mary's head, symbolizing that at the moment of her yes the Holy spirit comes over her and she concieves God made Man. The Longer sleeves are commonly seen on younger women to signify that they are not married and are more elaborate than an older women’s more formal kimono, basically it symbolizes Mary’s virginity. The crane represents long life and good fortune as it is said to live for a thousand years.Cranes in Japanese textiles generally represent longevity and good fortune and they are nicknamed "the bird of happiness". They are most closely associated with Japanese New Year and wedding ceremonies
On her sleeves are two large peony flowers. They are considered the King of Flowers, what we usually consider the rose to be. Also on the sleeves are plum blossoms.which are the first flowers to bloom in japan and announces the arrival of spring.The robes also hold symbolism. The pink color of the color and under robe is a very close to the color red used to symbolize high rank, only worn by those with high rank and happiness. Her yellow and orange sleeves symbolizes sacred, knowledge and civilization courage and love. Directly under the stork, the orange/khaki color is used during the month of March, when we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation. Under is a dark blue robe with slate blue resembling water patterns. Blue is the color used for December-when we celebrate the fulfillment of the annunciation in Christ's birth, and October- the month of the Rosary (the first joyful mystery of the rosary is the Annunciation) it is also a symbol for immortality, purity, and cleanliness. The last robe acts also as a cushion to kneel on. The green color symbolizes life, youth, vitality, and eternity.
The background, outside a small bamboo hut surrounded by vegetation reminds us of the poor lifestyle that Our Lord will be born into. Bamboo is also symbolizes the sweetness of life.
The main image is flanked by two side images. The image on the left has red and white daisies, a symbol of faith. There are also a few smaller plants underneath a willow tree, in Japanese culture a symbol of strength and grace.
In the top left hand corner is a a wisteria plant that has not yet blossomed.
In the right hand image A Blossoming Cherry tree stands surrounded by some pasture and foliage. The Cherry Blossoms is the flower of the month of March. Associated with spring it represents loyalty, innocence, purity, love and new beginnings.The flowers surrounding the tree also has symbolism. The red Camellias-love, the white camellias- longing, The Camilla- waiting, daffodil-respect, the morning glory- willful promise, Pansy-thoughtful/caring, White poppy-rejoice, and violet-honesty. Closer to the front is the chrysanthemum, it is the imperial flower.The hibiscus flower-gentle, the hydrangeas and the blue Iris--glad news/ glad tidings adds to the ambiance. In Japanese Callligraphy is written "The Annunciation" and directly under is the fleur di lis.
Mary, with her long hair and pure like a lily, was the most beautiful maid in Nazareth, but she realizes that her true beauty comes from being the mother of the Holy Child. (Jerzy Harasymowicz, Pieta ze Znamierowic)
Be praised, Mother of God, by beautiful chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemums come from Japan, where they convey the same nostalgia as in Poland.
(Mieczyslaw Gogacz, Litania kwiatow do Matki Bozej)
The angel of the Annunciation has barely left, but what a transformation:
from the girl of Nazareth to the majestic queen with a crown of twelve stars!
Leopold Staf, Zwiastowanie