The dance of the lotus
The lotus, one of the fundamental components of the iconic L’Eau d’Issey fragrance created by Issey Miyake, is a very special flower in Japan, where it is revered as a wonder of nature and a spiritual symbol. Take a magical adventure to Shinobazu pond in Tokyo to witness the summer spectacle of the lotus blossoming at the break of dawn.
A midsummer day’s dream
In the heart of stunning Tokyo lies the tranquil urban parenthesis of Ueno Park, in the Taito district. As you wander the vast public park in the summer heat, home to impressive museums, splendid temples and ancient cherry trees that no longer blossom, you might find yourself drawn to one very special place. Follow the sweet, heady scent that leads you to Shinobazu pond, a lotus haven unlike anything you have ever seen before. It might look like nature is playing a trick on you, for the pond seems to have disappeared, covered instead by a vast green blanket of fragrant lotuses. As you stand searching for glimpses of the still water, the field of leaves gently dances to the whispers of the breeze, anchored by the Renkon – the lotus root – hidden below the surface. Watch carefully and you’ll see the Kanrensetsu, the near-mystical opening of the lotus flowers between 7 and 9 every the morning, when the lotuses slowly open their petals one by one, revealing their pink hearts to the sky, eager to bask in the dazzling force of the sun. If you lend an ear, oblivious to the nearby murmur of the city, you might even hear the sound of the flowers opening. Then, around noon, as the sun sits high in the heavens, the lotuses withdraw once again to shelter their poetic beauty from the outside world.
Cult of a flower
In the western hemisphere, the rose has been crowned “Queen of the flowers”. For centuries, royalties have been enjoyed perfumes created from its essence. However, on the other side of the globe and particularly in the Land of the Rising Sun, the lotus is a celebrated icon. Indeed, the sacred flower is a powerful symbol of Buddhism whose delicate scent invites the soul into stillness and clarity. Thus, Shiva and the bodhisattvas are depicted sitting on the precious flower, contemplating the universe in the famous cross-legged lotus position. Exceptional among the flowers the Earth has created, the lotus is rooted in mud and rises from murky waters where it floats and blooms into the beautiful bloom we see on the surface. Its spectacular birth has been linked to spirituality and for the Japanese; it embodies growth towards perfection and enlightenment, its fleeting beauty mimicking the cycle of life. One can’t help but also marvel at the lotus effect, where drops of water slide off the petals, incapable of entering the flower while cleaning the leaves. However, the lotus magic isn’t limited to its uncanny long existence and spiritual power. Revered by ancient civilizations and used in medicine for millenniums, the flower has also become a precious and luxurious substance much favoured by perfumers. Thus, sitting in the middle of a pond in Japan or lingering on a woman’s skin, the lotus’ aquatic freshness and delicate floral scent appeases the mind. A gentle reminder that body and mind are forever linked.
Saha Entertainment: header
Jingjing Song / EyeEm: Image 1 (left)
Huoguangliang: image 1 (right)
Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo: Image 2 (left)
Horizon Motion: Image 2 (right)