Sparrow, Rice, Pine, Bamboo and Carp

This plump sparrow, or fukura susume, represents prosperity and harvests so rich that even the sparrows get fat. It is a particularly auspicious symbol since the word for swelling or plump, fukura, includes the word fuku or good fortune. The vertical bars represent bamboo, and symbolize the vitality of youth (since bamboo can grow a foot in a day) paired with the wisdom of age represented by stylized pine branches (pines were said to live 1,000 years). Carp (koi) is a symbol of strength and energy.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller