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Bringing the theatre out in flowers

Image of Just Chrysanthemums by Clare FloristI mentioned previouslyin this blog that Chrysanthemums get the royal treatment in Japan. In fact, the annual celebrationof the famous Chrysanthemum Festival in Japan falls in September, traditionallyon the 9th. But the most mesmerising part, however, may not be so wellknown outside of Japan.

The little gem I'm referring to is the "Chrysanthemum dolls" exhibition- yes, an invigorating show of life-size dolls in costumes made of fresh andblooming Chrysanthemums! The first of these shows was way back in 1910, anevent that was since regularly held at Hirakata. At each show, 50 dolls areconstructed to display characters in various famous Japanese historical scenesas well as Japanese drama (kabuki).

Link to a picture of a Chrysanthemum Dolls exhibit.

These enchanting dolls require the utmost expertise and care from the craftsmen,not to mention meticulous planning and co-ordination - with different mastersdealing with different parts, from the design of the scenario layout down to thebamboo body frames and painted faces. Each doll would take at least a day to beconstructed by an expert, using up at least 100 plants. Over the duration ofthe show, flowers have to be continually kept fresh and they are changed every7 days or show, using up to 40000 plants altogether!

A shame that they seem to have stopped doing theseshows, as far I know, due to a mixture of declining number of visitors and alack of successors to the old masters of this craft. That's not to say someChrysanthemum dolls that are left around certain Japanese botanical gardens won’t greet you.
Until then, why not send "Just Chrysanths" or even try developing some Chrysanthemum figures of your own?

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