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Motif Information
Motif nanten 01.jpg
Rōmaji Nanten
English Nandina, heavenly bamboo
Kanji 南天
Kana なんてん
Season Summer
Seasonal Exceptions Winter
Auspicious Yes
Motif Type Plant

Nanten refers to Nandina domestica, an flowering evergreen shrub native to Japan. [1] New leaves in the spring are pink or red before they turn green and older leaves turn red or purple before being shed, making it common to employ these striking colors in depicting the motif.

Nanten bears clusters of white flowers in early summer which produce red berries in late autumn. The berries may be toxic if consumed in large quantities by mammals, but are a favorite food of small birds that overwinter in Japan.

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

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Motif Connotations & Symbolism

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Auspicious Nature

Nanten sounds like the phrase "nan o tenzuru" (難を転する) which means to overturn misfortune (nan, lit. troubles). [2] Nanten are often used in New Year's ikebana for this reason (and their beautiful winter berries).

Common Motif Pairings

Identification & Style Variations

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Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

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In Poetry

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

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  1. Wikipedia Article on Nandina Accessed March 15, 2016.
  2. Kigo Database Article on Nanten. Accessed November 7, 2013.

Image Credits

  • Muhvi

Authors & Contributors

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