Dragonfly Forge is proud to unveil our new mon, which will serve as a logo for our business and swordsmithing school. Our mon features three dragonflies facing outward, enclosed, like the majority of mon, within a bold circle.
Mon are heraldic symbols of medieval Japan. Like European family crests, they developed amongst the aristocratic class first, gradually being adopted by commoners and merchants. They came into widespread use by the 12th century, especially for use in battle, seen on flags, armor, tents and other military equipment to help distinguish clan member from enemy.
Today, the influence of the mon can still be seen in the Imperial chrysanthemum, the paulownia of the office of the Prime Minister, or probably most visibly, the Mitsubishi logo.
The three dragonflies within the mon are symbolic of the three family members who run Dragonfly Forge: Michael, Anna, and Gabriel Bell. They also reflect upon the past, present, and future of the lineage: our foundation in the teachings of Nakajima-sensei, the current body of knowledge taught by master Michael Bell, and the future of the tradition to be continued by Gabriel Bell and Michael’s other apprentices.
Each of the three dragonflies has a tail shaped as a ken, reminiscent of a well known Japanese creation myth in which a famous and powerful sword is born from the tail of a slain dragon. In the tale, the fearsome Yamata no Orochi, an eight-headed serpent is defeated by the storm god, Susanoo, after he tricked the beast into drinking too much sake. In the fourth tail, he discovered a great sword, which he called Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (“Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven”), which he then presented to his sister the sun goddess, Amaterasu, to settle an old grievance. The sword also features heavily in other Japanese legends, later being renamed Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (“Grass-cutting Sword”), and becoming one of the three pieces of the important Imperial Regalia.
We will begin featuring the mon on our website, and anywhere else deemed appropriate. Come visit the annual OKCA Show in Eugene, Oregon on April 16-18 to see the mon for the first time, as well as to see a few of our swords and to learn about our swordsmithing classes.