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No.0435 - 10

[い ぬ]



A dog, which has been kept as a domestic animal since the Jomon Era (12000BC − 2400BC), comes into “Nihonshoki” and “Kojiki” and has been loved as a familiar animal. A dog is also familiar to us as a symbol of a prayer for a safe delivery”, a charm for children against evil, an amulet, a good-luck talisman, or a folk toy.


No.0440 - 10

[ぼたん 二連]



A peony was brought from China in Nara Era (710-784). It is considered to be the king of flowers, and is often drawn in combination with a lion. Its noble and elegant figure was loved by aristocrats.


No.0441 - 10

[雲 三連]



Clouds are called "Zuiun", a sign of good luck. It is generally believed that this idea comes from Buddhist art, while a cloud often accompanies God and Jesus Christ in the Old and New Testaments. It is one of the important motifs in religious art.


No.0544 - 01

[金 魚]



Scooping goldfish out of a tank at festivals may be an experience that all Japanese people share. Aquarium fish were introduced from China into Japan in the Muromachi period, and they were already popular enough to become a typical summer feature in latter half of the Edo period.


No.0543 - 10

[海 亀]


[Sea Turtle]

Sea turtles are considered to have been living on earth for more than five million years. They spend all their lives traveling in the ocean, and people think that they have miraculous powers. There is also a Japanese tradition of cherishing them as a token of a bumper fish crop or as a divine messenger. In many parts of Japan, you can find variations of the fairy tale of Urashima and the Kingdom Beneath the Sea, where a turtle plays a role of an emissary from the kingdom beneath the sea and brings Taro Urashima to the kingdom on turtleback.


No.0544 - 01

[鬼 瓦]



The roofs of traditional Japanese houses, shrines or temples are made of Kawara, a black clay tile. Normally, the roof is made of the same shaped tiles except for the ridge-end ones, which prevent rain from coming in from the ridge-ends of the roof. In ancient times, the designs included water designs invoking fire prevention, beasts' faces, human faces, ogres' faces, or family crests, and many more. Ogres' faces have long been regarded as a charm against evil.


No.0652 - 10




A swallow is a kind of migratory bird that builds a nest among folk dwellings. People have cherished swallows because they are a beneficial bird. A figure of a swallow bringing up chicks is very lovely. A swallow by a willow, or over the waves, has been a typical motif for spring and summer Kimonos.


No.0653 - 10



[Lion Mask]

Since ancient times, a lion has been a symbol of a supreme authority, or a king, and has sometimes been described as a guardian deity of a king. As lions have never lived in Japan, ancient Japanese painters and sculptors made unique images of lions. A lion sometimes appears on stage of Noh or Kabuki. A lion dance is customarily performed on New Year’s Day to drive off the luck and bring good health.


No.0654 - 10

[天 馬]


[Horse Loping across the Sky]

A horse loping across the sky is often found on wall paintings in ancient Egypt or Persia. Pegasus appears in Greek myths, and horses of fire appear in the Bible to carry Elijah up to Heaven in a chariot of fire. A horse loping across the sky was first introduced in West Asia, came to China through the Silk Road, reached Japan and appeared in motifs during the Asuka period. Horses have been familiar to people since ancient times and their brave figure has attracted us to them.


No.0755 - 10




Noh is the world oldest stage art that Japan claims proud of and is registered as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It was perfected by Zeami in Muromachi Era (14th century), and has progressed to this day. The play “Okina”, which was created before the 14th century, is an art of devotion praying for world peace, productiveness of grain and national calm, and has been performed at New-Year’s days and festive days. On these occasions, facets of “Haku-Shikijo (a kind of white facets) and “Koku-Shikijo (a kind of black facets) are used.


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