Dance of the Cranes by Haruyo Morita: Painting and Meditation

September 16, 2020  • Brianna Curran

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Dance of the Cranes, Haruyo Morita


In Japan, the crane is said to be the “bird of happiness” and is renowned for its beauty, its monogamous mating habits, and its graceful dancing rituals. In paper form, it is said that if someone folds one thousand paper cranes, they are granted one wish. After the bombing of Hiroshima during WWII, a young survivor attempted to fold 1000 orizuru, or paper cranes, to wish for peace and harmony in the world. The symbol has since been a call for unity across difference and a symbol of pacifism.

Morita’s exquisite painting of a young woman dancing with cranes evokes all of these elements – happiness, peace, grace, and harmony. A young woman appears to wade in the ocean seeking unity with the world, contentment in her face and freedom in her limbs. What lies ahead in the ocean is unknown, what lies behind is unimportant. Morita brings us firmly into the present, into a dance driven by happiness. When was the last time you let yourself dance for joy? How do you seek peace and contentment in your days, bringing yourself into a grounded presence? 

Brianna Curran, Washington, DC

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