As I wrote in the previous post, on 6th March hubby and I went to see Yurihonjo Hinakaido doll festival in Yurihonjo City of Akita prefecture. The Japanese doll festival Hinamatsuri is held on 3rd March every year when families with daughters display a set of ornamental dolls at home. While Hinamatsuri is a private display of Hina dolls at homes, we visited a public display of Hina dolls, some of which were antique and dated back a few hundred years. We went to see the doll festival at a public exhibition hall named Honjo Kyodo Shiryokan Museum in the city. We saw the exhibition of several types of exquisite and beautiful Hina doll sets in one of the rooms of the museum. In fact, there was a display of ten sets of antique dolls, and we moved inside the room in a clockwise direction and enjoyed seeing the doll sets one at a time. In the previous post, I wrote about six doll sets, and in this post I will write about the remaining ones.
Hina dolls of Mikuniya-ke
The seventh set of Hina dolls on display belongs to the family (ke in Japanese) of Mikuniya of Taruyama town in Akita City. The ancestors of the family migrated to this town from a place called Mikuni-go located in present-day Fukui prefecture, which led to the family being called Mikuniya. Later on Mikuniya-ke were involved in the wholesale business of small cargo vessels. The family is now involved in the sales business of Kimono clothes since previous generation. The displayed Hina doll set was bought by Mikuniya-ke in the middle of Meiji period. Such a doll set was very rare in those days, and the neighborhood kids visited Mikuniya-ke to see the dolls. All the dolls were displayed in four platforms at the hall. The imperial (Dairibina) dolls consisting of emperor (Obina or Odairisama) and empress (Mebina or Ohinasama) dolls were displayed on the topmost platform. These Dairibina dolls were of the type Kokinbina. On the back of the box case where these Dairibina dolls are usually kept, it is written that these dolls were made by Iwase Keisan. In addition, a set of five male dolls representing Gonin Bayashi musicians were displayed on the left side of the second (from top) platform and six female dolls representing two sets of three court ladies Sannin Kanjo were displayed on the right side of the second platform. A beautiful folding screen with a colorful drawing of a farm field was displayed behind the Dairibina dolls. Such a drawing was to wish for a good harvest. Along with the Hina dolls, various additional dolls were also displayed in the third and the fourth platforms. For the sake of brevity, I will discuss about these two lower platforms by dividing them into the left and the right side. On the left side of the third platform, one of the two court ministers and two Kasamochi (umbrella carrier) dolls were displayed. On the right side of the third platform, Sake Kanjo (a lady bearing a long handled Sake serving scoop) doll, a standing female doll in beautiful gorgeous Kimono, and the other court minister doll were displayed. On the left side of the forth platform, a doll set of Urashima and Otohime and another doll set of Ni-nin San-ba (two people and three crows) were displayed. On the right side of the fourth platform, a doll set of Shitakiri Suzume and two doll sets of Chinbiki Kanjo were displayed. Amongst all these additional dolls, I was very intrigued by the two doll sets of Chinbiki Kanjo where a young court lady was holding the leash of Chin dog, a Japanese spaniel. Such a doll was a popular addition to the Hina doll sets from mid Meiji period (1900) to 1930, and was displayed to wish women an easy and healthy delivery of babies. Chin dogs have been in existence in Japan as early as 7th to 8th century. They were rare dogs and were favored by the very upper class until recent years. The red colored cape and the black and white hair of the dog matched with the court lady’s gorgeous clothes having hand crafted embroidery. The red colored leash added to the beauty of the Chinbiki Kanjo dolls. Most of these additional dolls were collected by Mikuniya-ke from Meiji period to the beginning of Showa period. This Hina doll set was one of the most interesting doll set I have ever seen.
Hina dolls of Mikuniya-ke
I am standing in front of the doll set of Mikuniya-ke
Kokinbina imperial Dairibina dolls of Mikuniya-ke and a folding screen with a colorful drawing of a farm field displayed behind the dolls
Empress (Ohinasama) doll of Mikuniya-ke
Emperor (Odairisama) doll of Mikuniya-ke
Five male musicians Gonin Bayashi displayed on the left side of the second platform and two sets of three court ladies Sannin Kanjo displayed on the right side of the second platform
Dolls of a court minister (1) and two Kasamochi umbrella carriers (2 and 3) displayed on the left side of the third platform, and dolls of Sake Kanjo (4), a standing female in Kimono (5), and the other court minister (6) displayed on the right side of the third platform
Doll sets of Urashima and Otohime (1) and Ni-nin San-ba (2) displayed on the left side of the fourth platform, and doll sets of Shitakiri Suzume (3) and Chinbiki Kanjo (4 and 5) displayed on the right side of the fourth platform
Hina dolls of Suzuki-ke
The eighth set of Hina dolls on display belongs to Suzuki-ke (Suzuki Family) of Omoteozakimachi town. The set consisted of a complete Hina doll house. These Hina dolls are called Gotenbina or ‘palace type Hina dolls’ and were displayed inside a miniature wooden model of the ceremonial building Shishinden Hall of Kyoto Imperial Palace. Gotenbina dolls were very popular among wealthy families from the late Meiji period to early Showa period. The displayed Hina doll set is usually kept in the storage of Suzuki-ke. There is a story transmitted by word of mouth regarding these Gotenbina dolls. It is said that this Hina doll set was bestowed upon an imperial court lady Nyokan during her retirement from service at the Imperial Palace. Afterwards, this doll set was bequeathed to Suzuki-ke who were engaged in wood industry and could take good care of the miniature wooden Shishinden Hall. On the box case where this Hina doll set is usually kept, ‘Ichiin Sai Ohno Bokuou’ is written with Sumi ink, which is probably the name of the person who made this doll set. This Hina doll set is considered to be made at the end of Edo period. The displayed miniature Shishinden Hall consisted of a number of components that were carefully produced with great details using paulownia wood. The advanced technique of Nejigumi was used in the framework. This technique supports the entire framework without the usage of any nails. Shishinden Hall was constructed in Sanden-zukuri architectural style, and had a very precise structure and looked very gorgeous. It consisted of three halls, namely, the central Seiden Hall, Sogakuden Hall on the left side, and Wakiden Hall on the right side. The adjacent Wakiden Hall was connected to the Seiden Hall by a roofed corridor Kokairo. The roof of Shishinden Hall had the emblem of chrysanthemum with 16 petals which is the Imperial seal of Japan. All the Hina dolls were displayed inside or around Shishinden Hall. Imperial Dairibina dolls were placed in the central Seiden Hall. These imperial dolls were of the type Kokinbina. These Dairibina dolls had traditional elegant faces and were wearing gorgeous Kimono. Five male musicians Gonin Bayashi were placed in Sogakuden Hall, and prince and princess dolls were placed in Wakiden Hall. Two sets of three court ladies Sannin Kanjo were also displayed. One set was displayed right outside the Seiden Hall in the verandah and two dolls of the other set were displayed in the Kokairo corridor. Three Samurai helpers were displayed on the ground in front of Seiden Hall and the two court ministers were displayed on the ground in front of Wakiden Hall. I loved this Hina doll set of Suzuki-ke very much.
Gotenbina doll set of Suzuki-ke
Kokinbina imperial Dairibina dolls placed inside Seiden Hall
Imperial Dairibina dolls and one set of three Sannin Kanjo dolls placed in Seiden Hall
Two more dolls of another Sannin Kanjo set standing in Kokairo corridor
Gonin Bayashi dolls located inside Sogakuden Hall
Prince and princess dolls (hardly visible) placed inside Wakiden Hall
Three Samurai helpers displayed in front of Seiden Hall
Enlarged view of one of the Samurai helpers
Two court ministers displayed in front of Wakiden Hall
Enlarged view of one of the court ministers
Hina dolls of Yosenji Temple
Next we saw two Hina doll sets (ninth and tenth sets) and many other interesting dolls and accessories displayed in the hall. These two doll sets are usually kept inside Yosenji Temple located in Yurihonjo City and are the property of the temple. These doll sets originally belonged to the daughter named Yoshiko of the eleventh feudal lord Rokugo Masaakira (also called Masakane) of Honjo Domain of Dewa province. The feudal lord presented these doll sets to his daughter on the occasion of her marriage celebrations. These dolls were donated to Yosenji Temple by the descendants of Yoshiko in 1998. Yosenji is the family temple of Rokugo Family. So the temple has now become the home of two beautiful sets of Hina dolls with a total of 37 dolls and about 200 Hina Dougu (tools and accessories). All the dolls were displayed in four platforms at the hall. Two sets of imperial Dairibina dolls were displayed on the topmost platform. Both the sets were of the type Kokinbina and were probably made sometime during the very end of Edo period or the beginning of Meiji period. Both these sets of Dairibina dolls were small in size and I loved them very much. Both the empress Ohinasama dolls were dressed in Itsutsuginu robe and Karaginu top with rich silk brocades, and sported elaborate metal crowns. Both the emperor Odairisama dolls were wearing equally luxurious Sokutai Kimono. These Dairibina dolls had noble faces that were beautifully crafted with delightful animated expressions. These dolls were simply fabulous. Along with the two sets of imperial Dairibina dolls, various other dolls were also displayed on the lower three platforms. For the sake of brevity, I will discuss about these three platforms by dividing them into the left and the right side. Two sets of five male musicians Gonin Bayashi were displayed on the second (from top) platform, one set on the left side and the other on the right side. One of the ministers from a set of two court ministers, a second set of two court ministers, and two of the three Sannin Kanjo dolls were displayed on the left side of the third platform. The third Sannin Kanjo, a pair of female and male dolls in gorgeous Kimono, and the other minister from the first set of the two court ministers were displayed on the right side of the third platform. Many interesting Hina Dougu were displayed on the fourth platform. These Hina Dougu were miniature versions with high quality intricate designs, elaborate details, and were decorated with black and gold lacquer.
Hina dolls of Yosenji Temple
Left side of the display of Hina dolls of Yosenji Temple
Right side of the display of Hina dolls of Yosenji Temple
First set of Kokinbina imperial Dairibina dolls displayed on the left side of the topmost platform
Empress Ohinasama doll
Emperor Odairisama doll
Second set of Kokinbina imperial Dairibina dolls displayed on the right side of the topmost platform
Empress Ohinasama doll
Elegant and noble face of the empress Ohinasama doll
Emperor Odairisama doll
Noble facial expression of the emperor Odairisama doll
Two sets of five male musicians Gonin Bayashi dolls displayed on the left and the right side of the second platform
A court minister from the first set of two court ministers (1), a second set of two court ministers (2 and 3), and two of the three Sannin Kanjo dolls (4 and 5) were displayed on the left side of the third platform. The third Sannin Kanjo (6), a pair of female and male dolls (7 and 8), and the other minister from the first set of the two court ministers (9) were displayed on the right side of the third platform.
Hina Dougu tools and accessories displayed on left side and the right side of the fourth platform
Kokinbina collection of Takahashi Jun
Finally we saw a wonderful collection of Kokinbina Hina dolls that belongs to a person named Takahashi Jun of Chokai region in Yurihonjo City. Mr. Takahashi was inspired by an annual event named ‘Minato Sakata no Hinameguri’ held in Sakata City of Yamagata prefecture, and started collecting various kinds of Kokinbina Hina dolls. He made this doll collection in a little over ten years, and all the Kokinbina Hina dolls are from the end of Edo period. The eyes and the facial expressions of all the Kokinbina imperial Dairibina dolls were very attractive, and their Kimono clothes were spectacular. The Kimono of the empress Ohinasama dolls had gorgeous embroidered and brocaded Sode sleeves and Eri collars. The displayed collection had two types of Kokinbina dolls, namely, the Kyoto-style and the Tokyo-style (Edo-style). Kyoto-style Kokinbina had narrow carved eyes, were broad shouldered, and the hands of the empress Ohinasama dolls could be seen peeping out of the Sode sleeves of Kimono. Tokyo-style Kokinbina had eyes made of glass, were open mouthed, and the hands of empress Ohinasama dolls were hidden inside Sode sleeves that were arranged on the knees. All the Hina dolls were displayed in three platforms inside a display case at the hall. Six pairs of Kokinbina imperial Dairibina dolls were displayed on the top two platforms, with two pairs on the topmost platform and four pairs on the second platform. It was very interesting to note that the Tokyo-style Kokinbina Dairibina dolls displayed on the left side of the topmost platform were looking upwards. Such dolls are very rare and hardly seen. In addition, dolls of five male musicians Gonin Bayashi, three court ladies Sannin Kanjo, and two court ministers were displayed on the lowest platform. We also saw a beautiful Sagemon displayed on the left side of the dolls display case. Sagemon was collected from Fukuoka prefecture, and consisted of a stringed hanging decoration with various kinds of handmade cute small hanging dolls and Temari. The dolls and Temari made of cloth were very colorful and glamorous.
Display of the collection of Kokinbina Hina dolls of Takahashi Jun
First set of Kokinbina imperial Dairibina dolls of Tokyo-style displayed on the left side of the topmost platform were looking upwards
Second set of Kokinbina imperial Dairibina dolls of Kyoto-style displayed on the right side of the topmost platform
Empress Ohinasama doll of the above second set had narrow carved eyes and beautiful facial expression
Third set of Kokinbina Dairibina dolls of Tokyo-style displayed on the left side of the second platform
Fourth set of Kokinbina Dairibina dolls of Kyoto-style displayed on the left side of the second platform
Fifth set of Kokinbina Dairibina dolls of Kyoto-style displayed on the right side of the second platform
Sixth set of Kokinbina Dairibina dolls of Kyoto-style displayed on the right side of the second platform
Dolls of five male musicians Gonin Bayashi, three Sannin Kanjo, and two court ministers displayed on the lowest platform
I am standing next to a Sagemon
We loved seeing various types of antique and elegant Hina dolls displayed in the exhibition hall of Honjo Kyodo Shiryokan Museum during Yurihonjo Hinakaido Festival.