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Kanzashi have been used to adorn the hair of Japanese women throughout the ages. These ornamental hairpins are still considered a form of art and are crafted with pride even today, even though Japanese women wear traditional kimono less than ever before.

Our sister site YouPouch recently featured the incredible work of kanzashi artist Sakae, who uses flower blossoms and butterflies as the main motif of her work. We think you’ll agree that each piece is a work of beauty caught in time, so check the gallery below and be prepared to have your breath taken away.

On her Facebook page, Sakae offers the following words to describe her work: “Please pin these blossoms and butterflies—caught in the peak of life—to your hair. Each one is made with special care, so that you will always have the beauty of the seasons by your side.” 

Sakae reveals that one kanzashi can take anywhere from 3 days to a month to complete and are made from pine resin.

When we asked what led her to choose blossoms and butterflies as her main motifs, she replied: “In observing young ladies all dressed up in their coming of age celebration kimonos, I thought a transparent blue butterfly would make their outfit complete. I also noticed there weren’t any such kanzashi for sale, so I decided to make one. I had never made one before—up until then, my life had nothing to do with kanzashi. But that was the beginning.”

We might be reading too far in between the lines, but perhaps the butterfly represents the completion of a metamorphosis to adulthood.

Each of Sakae’s kanzashi is handcrafted to be one a kind, making it all the more special. Those of you interested in purchasing one for yourself can check the English FAQ on her Facebook page for details.

Now sit back and enjoy the pictures of many more pieces of Ms. Sakae’s beautiful artwork.

2011 Butterfly Pin

2011 Butterfly Pin

Kanzashi Papilio maackii

2011 Kanzashi Papilio maackii

2012 Lantern kanzashi

2012 Lantern kanzashi

2012 Wisteria kanzashi

2012 Wisteria kanzashi

2011 Balloon flower

2011 Balloon flower

2011 Kanzashi moonlight

2011 Kanzashi moonlight

Peony Kanzashi

Peony Kanzashi

2011 Spring peony

2011 Spring peony

2011 Kanzashi cluster-amaryllis red

2011 Kanzashi cluster-amaryllis red

2011 kanzashi black horse

2011 kanzashi black horse

Ms. Sakae's personal favorite,2012 Snow Flower

Ms. Sakae’s personal favorite top 3 no. 1 , 2012 Snow Flower

Her no. 2 butterfly pin

Her no. 2 butterfly pin

Her No. 3 'Sakura' cherry blossom kanzashi

Her No. 3 ‘Sakura’ cherry blossom kanzashi


[ Read in Japanese ]