Meiji Bijutsu

Two Japanese Painted Clam Shells Edo Period

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Pre 1900: Item # 1056207

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Meiji Bijutsu
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Kawakami 2891-4 Yufuin-cho
Yufu-shi, Oita-ken 879-5102 Japan
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Two halves of clam shell, used to play the shell-matching game (kaiawase). In this game, that was originally played by nobles in the late Heian period, the players have to match two halves of clam shell, decorated on the inside in the same way with gold leaf and miniature scenes or flowers. A half of clam shell is placed face up, and the players turn over one by one the other halves until they find its match.
These two halves come from different shells. They date from Edo period and are painted with scenes of the Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari), a popular subject in kaiawase game.
There are lacks of gold leaf, mainly on one of the shells. On the same shell, the faces of some figures have come off. Otherwise, the condition is good.
Dimensions: about 10 cm (3.9 in) long and 7.5 cm (3 in) large