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

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

William Anderson Collection

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

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

    Japan
    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'.

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