Have you seen the cover of Neiman Marcus’ 2011 Christmas book? Fashionable butterflies invite the reader to open the pages of the newly unveiled book and view the luxurious and quite costly items within. I was struck by the attractiveness of the cover as butterflies are beautifully colored flying insects that are often symbolic for those who are touched by loss.
Although I enjoyed looking through the Christmas book, I was especially drawn to the cover. A young child’s face is surrounded by lovely insects that, for many, represent new beginnings and wisdom. I cannot tell if the child is male or female, which makes me ponder whether the artist wants customers to see their own inner child in the illustration. The sketch of the child’s body is simply drawn in gray scale and so my eyes move upward to the colorful butterflies surrounding the face.
The Mandarin Chinese word for butterfly is “70 years” and so they have become a symbol for long life. In the Japanese culture, they represent young women and marital bliss. In some Greek, Russian and Mexican cultures the butterfly represents the soul. Many bereaved parents have told me that the butterfly is symbolic of rebirth after death. They are often comforted by this symbolic meaning as they struggle with the deaths of their children.
Although there are many shiny, glittery and polished items for sale in the Neiman Marcus Christmas book, I focus on the cover. It has made me pause in my very busy day to reflect on the meaning of the season. Why is it that whenever I see a butterfly I am amazed and in that feeling of surprise, I smile. Perhaps that’s Neiman Marcus’ intention – to make us reflect on the simple beauty of the season and appreciate the symbols that surround us this time of the year. Next time you see a butterfly, remember to stop by my blog to let me know what it meant to you.