Nozaki Shin'ichi, Paper Hina Dolls and Cherry Blossoms, a triptych of hanging scroll paintings

Late Edo - Meiji period, late 19th century AD

Hina dolls are the main feature of the annual hina-matsuri (Doll Festival), which traditionally took place on the 3rd day of the 3rd (lunar) month, at cherry-blossom time. The practice of making paper dolls is thought to derive from Chinese rites where impurities were transferred to paper images which were then cast away on a river.

The dolls were a popular theme among artists of the later Rimpa school, such as Shin'ichi (1821-99) working in Edo (modern Tokyo), and many examples survive. The dolls' robes are decorated with a pattern of wisteria hanging from pine trees. Both the male doll's hakama (wide trousers) and the female doll's obi (sash) have a chrysanthemum design in gold leaf. On the red ground are clams and seaweed done in fine gold lines.

The branches of cherry to either side are contrasting - one thick, one slender. The composition of the left-hand scroll is taken from works by Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), founder of the Edo Rimpa school, and his influence can be seen too in the use of the tarashi-komi ('puddled ink') technique to create a marbled effect on the trunk.

The central signature reads 'Mu-ni Shin'ichi' ('Shin'ichi without equal'), and the seal beneath reads 'Anjo ga in'. The other two signatures read 'Shin'ichi'. The circular seals read 'Rinrin'.

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More information


I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)


Height: 972.000 mm (each)
Width: 329.000 mm (each)

Museum number

Asia JA JP 1301-1303 (1881.12-10.02118-02120)


William Anderson Collection


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