Friday, July 3, 2020

彦根にお住まいのA先生ご夫妻が大きな枝を抱えてカフェに来てくださいました。緑に包まれた枝には大きな白い花が付いていました。つぼみいっぱいの木槿(むくげ)の枝。「これは特別な龍潭寺ムクゲです。」とおっしゃって先生はそのいわれを説明してくださいました。江戸時代、将軍が替わる度に祝賀のために朝鮮国から来日した使節団(朝鮮通信使)は必ず彦根の宗安寺(彦根市本町)に宿泊し、その時にムクゲの種が渡され、それが井伊家の菩提寺である龍潭寺に植えられて今日に至るとのこと。普通のムクゲはラッパ状に咲くのに比べて龍潭寺のムクゲは平面のように開くのが特徴だそうです。調べると真っ白の大きな花弁の龍潭寺のムクゲは学名が「龍潭寺白(りょうたんじしろ)」とついています。A先生はご友人が龍潭寺から譲ってもらって植えたものを挿し木してご自分の庭に植えられたとのこと。清々しい白のムクゲは7月の床の間に美しくおさまりました。大皿は日野の福始窯、竹村嘉造さんの力作です。Prof.and Mrs.A living in Hikone came to the cafe holding big branches. I saw a couple of big white flowers in branches which were covered with fresh green leaves. They are branches of Mukuge (rose of sharon) and many buds are on them. Prof. A said "These are very special Mukuge from Ryootanji temple." and he explained the story about the special flowers. In the Edo period, every time the Tokugawa Shogun changed, people who were sent from Korea stopped over at Soanji temple in Hikone. At some point, Mukuge seeds which belonged to them were gifted to the person in Hikone. They were planted in Ryootanji temple which is the family temple of the Ii (lord of the Hikone castle) and have been growing there since then. Common Mukuge blooms like a trumpet but the Ryootanji one blooms in a flat shape. According to web information, the scientific name of this Mukuge is "Ryootanji-shiro (Ryootanji-white)". Prof.A's friend was given the flowers from Ryootanji temple and the Professor grew the plant from a cutting a portion of a branch of his friend's tree. The green branches with fresh white flowers look so good at the alcove in this season. I also displayed a big plate by Yoshizo Takemura who has his own kiln, Fukushi-gama, in Hino.