Little Spirit Moon Picture

It seems that no sooner did I join the Kimono Lovers group, that I was signing up for a contest. I know both Jack and Squat about kimonos, and joined the group with the hopes of leaning, and here I was, jumping right in. Despite that, I was allowed to participate. The contest was an interesing one, asking us to blend the idea of the kimono, and the seasonal mythology of the Anishnaabe Native Americans. Each month, or moon has a different name, and a different feel to it.

I was assigned to draw the Little Spirit Moon - called “Manidoo-giizisoons” by the Anishnaabe (Chippewa/Ojibway) people. Here's a bit of info on it.

This moon is associated with early winter; namely the months of December and January. The days are short, the nights are long and the weather is very cold. The snows set in and only the hearty birds remain for the winter; Ravens, chickadees, blue jays and cardinals. The bears are hibernating, and the deer and moose are headed for tough times over the next few months. The male deer and moose shed their antlers. The lakes and rivers freeze. The people see this as a time of preparation; the Great Spirit Moon is on its way. Other tribes call this time: “When the wolves run together “ (Cheyeene), “Time of cold” (Mohawk), “Little Cold” (Muscokee), “When deer shed their antlers” (Sioux), “When the sun has travelled to his home to rest before starting on his journey back north” (Zuni).

Since this moon has a name like Spirit Moon, I felt it should have a regal, elaborate kimono to go with it, and my first thought was to go with an icicle-dripping Geisha. But when I started drawing it, she seemed very unaproachable, more like a cod statue than a spirit. Then I decided to try my hand at a type of kimono that I understood even less about: Heian era kimonos.

You see, I know very little about Japanese history, but the few times I have see illustrations of Heian era fashions, I've thought they are some of the most elegant things I have seen in the clothing world. As a bonus, those wearing them seem more aproachable and warm than a Geisha, who seem more like walking works of art.

Since I felt the underlying idea behind this moon was one of mercy, allowing the world time to prepare before the starvation and cold of deep winter, I gave the moon a kind look, and portrayed her sharing life with the spirit of the moose, to sustain it through the winter. I made the moose abstract because t is not an individual moose, but the concept of the species as a whole.

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