Family Crest and Pattern Design – Japanese Aesthetics

Japan's pattern design can be well demonstrated via over 5000+ family crests. Family crests, Kamon are Japanese emblems used to decorate and identify an individual, a family, or (more recently) an institution or business entity. While mon is an encompassing term that may refer to any such device, kamon and mondokoro refer specifically to emblems used to identify a family.

Different from the badges and coats of arms in European heraldic tradition, which mainly showcase power, authority via limited pattern or pictures of lion, eagles, flags, armors, etc, Japanese family crests reflect the diversity of those in power's beliefs in nature rooted in Buddhism or their person interest in specific items. After the family crests became available to normal citizens and business men, the patterns are broadened to all kinds of themes from flowers, oceans, trees, animals to daily vegetables, agricultural tools, etc. 

Crest are in black and white at the beginning as the basic design which can be colored and printed later on upon clothes, books, envelops and all other things the family owns. They are also commonly seen on architecture of the family's real estates, especially for those rich and powerful families. 

The beauty of mon or crest is it is a simple pattern that represent perfectly the item behind it. It's simplicity also leads to abstract views of the item that generate imaginations of meanings, beliefs, family core values the item carries. Japanese family crests had inspired both Eastern and Western designers whose works and products reveal that beauty in many areas in our modern life today.

La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume)