|Mikado Dolls (Mikado = Imperial)|
The custom of the Doll Festival-- Hinamatsuri--dates back to Heian Japan, when originally people used to float straw dolls (Hina) down river to the sea, thus carrying away bad spirits--somewhat in the manner of the biblical scapegoat, though rather less costly. Celebrated on March 3rd as the plum blossoms are just beginning to fade and the peach blossoms are almost ready to pop, modern custom involves putting out Hina Dolls for daughters a week or so before the third and displaying them until the third. My mommy friends tell me that it's important to take the whole set down by the 4th--superstition has it that if you leave your daughter's Hina set up too long, she'll be an old maid;-))
|click to enlarge all photos|
O-Dairi-Sama (the Emporer) holding his shaku (ritual baton)...
|a close-up view...|
...and O-Hina-Sama (the Empress) holding her fan. "Dairi" means imperial palace, "Hina" is girl or princess.
|incredible fine details|
|the seven-tiered set at the Children's Hospital|
Few people have the entire seven-tier set. If you ask someone, they'll tell you the have an "ichi-dan" (one tier) set, or a "ni-dan" or maybe a "san-dan" set (two, or even three). At least, of the big dolls like those above. If someone says they have a "nana-dan" (seven tier) set, they've either inherited all of it from O-Baasan, or they have a set with very small pieces inexpensively made. I was floored by the big set up at the Prefectural Children's Hospital we go to for Teddy's eyes (strabismus)--no ropes around it or anything, so I had a good up close look at it! I took some video of it, too, since it was hard to take good photos of the whole set. Go ahead and watch and enjoy, then below I'll explain what's on all the other tiers...
Aren't they detailed and lovely and fine? If I were a better video editor, I'd have put the HinaMatsuri Uta (song) with the video. Because of my lack of skills, please enjoy listening to the Hinamatsuri Song in a separate video:-))
The words go something like this:
Let's light the laterns on the tiered stand
Let's put peach blossoms on the tiered stand
Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums
Today is a happy Dolls Festival
|Sannin Kanjou no Sanpou...the seated sake bearer|
|Kotsuzumi and Yokobue of the court musicians|
1) Taiko--small drum
2) Ootsuzumi--large drum
3) Kotsuzumi-- hand drum
4) Yokobue-- flute (seated)
5) Utaikata--the singer seated and holding a folding sensu fan.
|The Sadaijin--Minister of the Left....who is on your right|
|Udaijin--the Minister of the Right...who is on your left;-))|
...and the Udaijin--the Minister of the Right (who is on the viewer's left), depicted as a young man. He sits beside the diamond-shaped hishidai holding the diamond-shaped glutinous rice cakes called Hisamochi ( colorful here, but usually in the three colors of spring--pink, green and white). Both figures usually hold bows and arrows.
For some reason, I forgot to take a photo of the figures in the fifth tier--the samurai helpers as protectors to the Emperor and Empress. Look closely at their faces in the video--can you identify which is the Nakijougo (the Maudlin Drinker), which the Okorijougo (the Cantankerous Drinker), and which is the Waraijougo (the Merry Drinker)? Gambare! (do your best!)
|Only the Empress possess a mirror...|
1) the tansu-- a chest of drawers (usually five), sometimes with outer doors;
2) the Nagamochi--a long chest used for storing kimono, and placed on top of it the Hasamibako (a smaller clothes storage box). To the far left in the photo above.
3) Kyoudai-- mirror stand (I was really intrigued by this)
4) two hibachi-- braziers used for heating (far right in photo above)
5) Haribako-- the sewing kit box (for fixing up all those voluminous robes;-)), and...
|see the tiny bamboo whisk?|
...6) the Daisu with all the Ocha Dougu (tea utensils) used for the Tea Ceremony.
|Gyuusha--the ox-cart favored by Heian nobility|
If you've another minute, I found this darling video by Sakai Houichi (who does beautiful watercolors) showing how to draw or paint the Mikado (Hina) Dolls. Watch how he paints the circles for the faces--clockwise in one smooth zen-like movement starting at the bottom of the circle. Cool. I also liked the little paper kitty-puppets he uses to point to things during the video:-)) Dozo, enjoy!
Chotto Hinamatsuri wakattekita ka naa...? Do you understand the Doll Festival a little better now? Stay tuned! Coming up tomorrow: SpyShopper--Hinamatsuri Treats; and on Thursday: Recipe--Chirashizushi for Hinamatsuri.
Mata ashita, ne!