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March 03 2013

waka
16:02
Hina Matsuri Traditional Dolls - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Hina Matsuri Dolls

One of the most beautiful celebrations in Japan takes place today: Hina Matsuri - the Doll Festival, a day when the families with girls are displaying a very special set of dolls, hina-ningyō, thus praying for their girl’s good health and happiness.

As you can see from my photo, the traditional sets of Hina Matsuri dolls are true works of art. A complex set can include up to 15 dolls (and can cost up to 1 million yen…), while the simplest set includes only two: the Emperor (Odairi-sama) and the Empress (Ohime-sama). Placed in front of a gold folding screen (byōbu), they are wearing Heian Period clothing (the empress wears juunihitoe, a twelve-layered robe), the Emperor is holding a shaku (a ritual baton) and the Empress is holding a fan. The set also includes two paper lanterns (bonbori), two flower vases, two lacquered boxes, a mandarin orange tree (ukon no tachibana) on the left and a cherry blossom tree (sakon no sakura) on the right.

February 13 2013

waka
09:51
Traditional Japanese Renjishi Dolls - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Traditional Japanese Shishi Dolls

There’s a wide variety of traditional Japanese dolls, sometimes classified by how they are made, other times by what they represent. Most of them are easy to identify: geisha, noble ladies or samurai, but there are some representing less known characters from the Japanese traditional culture, like the Hina Matsuri Dolls, or the Ichimatsu Dolls.

The dolls from today’s photo are very popular in Japan and many times I have been asked what they represent… it is clear that they represent Kabuki characters, but what is the story?

They are characters from the Renjishi / Lion Dance Kabuki play, but as strange as it may seem, these are not humans: these are… lions - well, actually shishi, mythological lion-like animals. The white one is the father and the red one is the cub… (^_^)

October 31 2012

waka
09:44
Japanese Traditional Crafts - Gold leaf - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Japanese Traditional Crafts - Gold leaf

The production of the Japanese gold leaf started in Kanazawa 400 years ago, during the reign of Maeda Toshiie, the lord of the Kaga clan. The humid weather of Kanazawa and the clean water from this area proved to be important advantages, since these factors are essential for the production of quality gold leaf, and today Kanazawa produces over 98% of the Japanese gold leaf.

Actually, the gold leaf is produced not only from pure gold but includes small quantities of copper and silver and the leaf is so thin that the gold leaf produced from a quantity of alloy equal to a 10 yen coin covers the size of a tatami mat (95cm × 191cm). Put in numbers, the thickness of the gold leaf is between 0.0001mm and 0.0002mm!

In Japan the gold leaf is used for temples and shrines decoration but also for household objects like furniture, ceramics or folding screens, and also makes for some interesting souvenirs from Japan

October 13 2012

waka
09:19
Traditional shopping street Oharaimachi Ise - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Oharaimachi, Ise

I love Japanese traditional products, so whenever I visit a new town I always check if there is a traditional shopping area. And if possible, I always search for specific products, foods or drinks. Many of these traditional shopping areas are streets, a few hundred meters long, with traditional Japanese buildings, like the street from this photo, Oharaimachi, located right near Naiku, the famous Inner Shrine of Ise.

For hundreds of years, pilgrims from all over Japan were passing through this street when they were coming to pray at the shrine. The main attraction were the akafuku mochi, a pounded rice cake with a sweet bean paste topping and the Ise udon, a kind of thick and soft noodle, specific to Ise…

Reposted byconradzio conradzio
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