Auspicious Signs


August 6, 2015 by smithartonline

Auspicious Signs Mixed Media Shadow Box 12 X 14.5 X 2.5 inches

Auspicious Signs
Mixed Media Shadow Box
12 X 14.5 X 2.5 inches


The Pasadena Society of Artists will present an exhibition in October. The designated theme is fairly broad: the Pasadena Roving Archers is celebrating their 70th anniversary and will present an historical display concurrently with the art exhibition. The art requirement is to include some aspect of archery into the artwork. Years ago I discovered the Japanese tradition of presenting an arrow to others as a talisman against evil; a hamaya. Hence the genesis of Auspicious Signs.

Presenting auspicious signs, this piece references the kitsune in rain motif; a story of either good fortune or disaster, depending upon the human interaction during the sun-rain wedding of the sacred foxes. There are seven stars and a moon, auspicious symbols employed by Korean shamans. The wheel of the dharma is prominently displayed and, with some sleuthing, you will note a stylized symbol referencing the T/O map of the medieval Europeans and a bird messenger on the top of the piece. Of central importance to the exhibition theme is the arrow, or hamaya, form used in the window area of the painting.

The hamaya is sold at shrines as a talisman to avoid misfortunes and attract good luck to the recipient. The translation of the word hamaya is demon-breaking or banishing arrow. I understand it is traditional to present these good fortune arrows to newborn boys…one wonders why newborn girls have no need of good fortune as well, but times and attitudes change, so hopefully these talisman arrows may be presented equally now-days…if not, here is an opportunity to start a new tradition.


Auspicious Signs, Top View

Auspicious Signs, Top View

4 thoughts on “Auspicious Signs

  1. Cheryle says:

    I do like quirky…nice…

    • Often when people ask me to describe my work for the first time, I preface my statement with “It’s pretty weird stuff.” Quirky sounds so much nicer…I think I will use it in the future. Thank you!

  2. […] Auspicious Signs and Black Comet present propitious symbols – a presentation with a genesis in the theme of this exhibition. […]

  3. […] two pieces I created for the show utilize the Japanese hamaya arrow as the link to the theme. Auspicious Signs and Black Comet have in depth explanations in earlier […]

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