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The text I'm asking about comes from a brochure selling pens with bodies of traditional decorated Imari porcelain. Here's the pen design, with its name:

黄緑彩兜唐草 黄緑彩兜唐草

From another brochure, I gather that the reading is: おうりょくさいかぶとからくさ.

I understand that 黄緑彩(おうりょくさい) describes the yellow-green color, and 唐草(からくさ) describes the arabesque pattern. But what's the 兜(かぶと) doing in there?

I have a theory that it might refer to a plant called 鳥兜(トリカブト), but I can't confirm it.

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could it be a reference to the style/shape of the pen? – ssb Feb 3 '14 at 15:26
I would just assume it refers to the cap; pens of that style of cap, as opposed to a smaller "clip" style cap, or none at all. But that's just my intuition. – istrasci Feb 3 '14 at 16:47
@istraci I don't think so. The kiln produces three different pens, all in the same shape. Only this one has 兜 in it's name. But thanks for trying. – Pitarou Feb 4 '14 at 2:53
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think that 兜唐草 is the name of a particular arabesque pattern by 源右衛門, a well-known pottery store. In particular, this pattern:


The imagery of 兜 is being strong or forceful. In that sense, 兜唐草 seems to be well-suited as a name for fancy accessories like a pen or a wallet. (The name for pattern for a plate or a piece of cloth might be more something like 雅唐草.)

I don't think that the choice of 兜 is related to トリカブト, the aconite plant, as there is no particular resemblance of the pattern with the aconite plant.

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Thank you. That's an extremely helpful answer. And, yes, the pen body is made by the Gen-emon Kiln. – Pitarou Feb 4 '14 at 2:51

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