Art on Tuesday: Lotus

The lotus flower is not only decorative, but a very important symbol. It is to be seen in the ukiyo-e of the Japanese painter Ohara Kôson (1877-1945) very often. He is a specialist of kacho-e, Japanese pictures of flowers and animals.

Botanically speaking it is the Indian Lotus Flower (nelumbo nucifera), which is a botanical family of its own and one must not confuse it with a water-lily, which is often to be seen in garden ponds. It has it’s origin in China and is to be found in India and South East Asia, also at the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and in Mexico.

The lotus is a holy flower and a symbol for purity, perfection, divine birth and the way of the Buddha. It represents the abstract and the concrete universe, the spiritual and the physical nature as the symbol of engendering forces.

The seeds of the lotus contain perfectly formed leaves. They are small pictures of what will be an accomplished plant one day. This shows the fact that the spiritual prototypes of all things exist in the immaterial world before they are embodied on earth.

The lotus root sitting in the mud represents the material life. The rising stem stands for the astral world, and the flower, which is floating over the water opening itself towards the sky, means spiritual being.

It is growing in the mud. The blossoms are not swimming on the water compared to water-lilies, but reside over the water’s surface. The flower itself is pure, because it is capable to overcome the mud.

Many pictures and statues show Buddha sitting on a lotus flower in the so-called lotus position. If a man is capable to pursue a goal, which is higher than himself and therefore transcends the banality of every day life, then he will be capable to prosper and to show his inner beauty.

The lotus is also a symbol of love as the flowers are able to wind to each other. Red lotus stands for passion and devotion, white for purity of mind and spirit, pink for the highest divinity, blue for wisdom and sageness.