The butterfly is a beautiful creature that has been viewed by many as a representation of newness in life and freedom. While this statement holds to a more mystical understanding of the butterfly; the habitat, defense and cultural significance has also been studied for understanding.
This article will not be able to review all aspects of the butterfly but will look to examine how the butterfly has had a significant impact on cultures as a whole. More poignantly it will look to examine the early Asian culture in comparison to how the butterfly has impacted modern American culture.
The butterfly had an interesting engagement with a Taoists philosopher, where after seeing a butterfly carrying him in a dream, he reflected after he awoke whether it was he that was trying to be carried into a new life as a butterfly or was he once a butterfly carried now into the human life. As Taoism is an attempt to achieve harmony with nature I wonder how this interaction continued to shape the belief of Taoism as a whole.
For the Asian cultures the butterfly represents long life (Tieh in Chinese) and their art work has reflected this aspect. They have also taken the symbol of the butterfly into modern day by printing it on kites, which are a great past time. There is even a symbol in the Chinese culture meaning love that depicts two butterflies kissing in air.
The Asian cultures have been attaching meaning and understanding to the butterfly long before the American cultural boom hit; but, there is a strong tie of some of these meanings that have carried over into America’s culture. Freedom, peace, and newness of life are some of the themes that the butterfly has carried over from the Asian culture.
The cultural impact of the butterfly on American culture in greatest seen by the popularity of the butterfly tattoo. The butterfly tattoo is the single most desired tattoo for people, more than dragons, more than flowers, none of them compare to it.
While it holds some popularity with cultural significance, it is the meanings that people attribute to it that links the American culture with the Asian culture more clearly. Freedom, America was founded because of we desired it and through freedom we are who we are today.
The butterfly has a great heritage and its impact on both the early Asian and modern American cultures are very evident; from the kites flown in Asia to the tattoos inked the butterfly has come into our lives and will more than likely will stay on even as our cultures change.
Shawn K. Manaher is looking to help others by informing them about various topics through his websites. Check out more articles or information on Butterfly Tattoos or Star Tattoos.