Monday, January 23, 2012

Girls' Day exhibition

Yesterday I was invited to go to a local exhibition of Girls' Day dolls. It is still a bit early in the season to talk about Girls' Day but since I took the pictures...

Most Japanese families, if they have daughters, will have a display of Girls' Day dolls. The dolls represent the Emperor and Empress and their attendants during the classical period of Japanese history. The placement of the dolls, the implements each doll holds, the miniature decorations and the colorful ornaments all have special meaning.

The two dolls on the top tier are the Emperor and Empress. On the second tier sit the court ladies. The third tier holds the imperial musicians. Below them are the court ministers. Under all that are the miniature furniture and household implements.

In our home, Leiya never had any Girls' Day dolls, mainly because we couldn't afford them! They are tremendously expensive! But besides that, they take up so much room to store during the year and then take up a good portion of the room to display. Sort of like Westerners and their Christmas ornaments, the Japanese housewife has to dedicate a day to bring out all the dolls, (and probably even make a place for the display to begin with!) set up the tiers and place each ornament in its proper place. They may invite friends to come and admire their doll display and have a small tea party with green tea and bean sweets and then March 4th will come and everything must be put away. If a mother is tardy in putting her dolls away, the daughter is in danger of marrying late!

Nowadays many families will opt for buying a smaller display... Less dolls but maybe more elaborate dressings and decorations. They would certainly take up less room to store and are no less beautiful!

Yesterday's exhibition had displays from the 1800's up to present day. Gorgeous! But the pre-school children's handmade Girls' Day dolls made of paper cups, straws and paper plates made me smile.

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