Himeji Shosha no Sato (arts & crafts museum)

Shosha no Sato, Bijutsu Kohgei Kan

This is a small museum northwest of Himeji in the foothills and outer suburbs. It has very thoughtful displays of a range of arts and crafts from toys, pottery, sculpture and swords and fittings. The Mt Shosha region has much history such as the Engyoji Temple and other related sites.

Interesting trips and features on Mount Shosha HERE

There was a special exhibition in November 2008 called “Skill of Master Craftsman and Beauty of Japanese Swords”.

SWORDS ON DISPLAY

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Sword on poster is by MINAMOTO YORITOMO MASANORI.

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Gold lacquered shishi kabuto (shishi dogs head) for temple. Donated by Takehara Masayoshi Heisei 10 nen (1998).

 
 

FUSHIMI CLAY DOLLS 伏見土人形

 
The arts on display included the wonderful “folk” pottery figures of the late Edo-Meiji era that represent characters of society of that period, and were produced in this general region. The origin of clay dolls in Japan is believed to be the “Fushimi Clay Dolls” (Fushimi ningyo) painted dolls made of unglazed pottery that were sold in front of the gate to Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine around the 16th century, from end of the Momoyama period. Also called called Fukakusa Dolls or Inari Dolls. Many were also made by roof tillers in Fukakusa. Recently the two main shops in Fushimi were the Tanka and Hishiya shops. (Ref. Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo. Alan Scott Pate).

The clay dolls featured in this exhibition are by two local craftsmen:
Hayase san from the village of Sayo-gun Sayo-cho and worked in the mid Meiji to mid Taisho period for 30 years. He was originally a roof tiler, then developed the technique of working with clay into small figures, or dolls (Fushimi Ningyo). He taught his son Sahei the techniques, but it appears the skills died with Sahei.

Inabata san lived in Hikami-cho in Tanba, at the end of the Edo period. His teacher passed to him techniques and styles of the late Edo period. Aki Wakatara is said to have established this art in Tanba, and his family continued it.

Size of figures in the museum exhibition were mostly between 15 and 22 cm high. The older figures of Inabata tend to be more simply made and painted. Smaller pictures of figures [in brackets] are of the same character for comparison, and from the Alan Pate book. These clay dolls are also called tsuji ningyo.

For a wide range of examples of Clay Dolls and many examples from Fushimi plus from other parts of Japan. HERE. Dolls are listed grouped under region: Tohoku, Kanto, Etsu-Hokuriku, Chuba, Kinki, Shikoku and Kyushu.

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Sumo wrestler of rank seki tori (3rd level) in sumo stance, by Hayase of Hyogo. [Sumo wrestler Meiji era, 16.5 cm].

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Two characters, front is sumo wrestler Tsuno Chikara Tori and rear is a sumo referee or gyoji, by Inabata of Tanba.

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Tenjin 天神 is the Shinto kami of learning, and is derived from the Heian Period scholar, poet, and administrator Sugawara no Michizane 菅原道真(845-903). He became a senior Minister in court of Emperor Uda in Kyoto, but on Uda’s abdication, Michizane was demoted by the opposing Fujiwara clan to a minor official at Dazaifu, Chikuzen, Kyushu. Here is seated in a formal pose, with tachi and holding daimyo’s “baton”, maybe earlier in his career. He is wearing the umebachi mon (plum blossom) later attributed to him due to his liking of these blossoms in his poems. It is also is the mon of the Tenmangu Shrine (or Tenjin-san). Doll by Hayase of Hyogo. [Tenjin, Showa era, 20.5 cm].

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Hotei, one of 7 lucky gods, Shinto god of happiness and good fortune, with nuno bukuro (cloth bag) and fan, by Inabata of Tanba. [Hotei, 39 cm, Meiji era]

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Kato Kiyomasa (1561-1611), samurai military commander and devoted Buddhist, by Inabata. [Left: Kato Kiyomasa, Show era, 28 cm].

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Daimyo Taikou (retired Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi), in formal pose, holding saihai baton, wearing kiri mon, by Hayase of Hyogo. [similar but this is Ebisu, kami of fishermen Showa era, 13 cm, with fish under his left arm]

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Left: Kisune (’fox”) Tadanobu a character of dramas, rather arrogant, in relaxed position holding jingasa, by Hayase of Hyogo. Right: Daimyou Taikou (Hideyoshi) in generals attire wearing kabuto, with commanders gunbai, and kiri mon, by Hayase of Hyogo.

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Left: Akagaki Genzo (1668-1703), one of the 47 Ronin samurai in wet weather gear and bag, by Hayase of Hyogo. Right: Ebissu, god of fishermen, with large red sea bream on shoulder, by Inabata

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Arajishi Dan no Suke a samurai character represented in kabuki theatre. Dramatic pose on tiger, by Hayase of Hyogo.
 

Tenjin. Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真) (August 1, 845 – March 26, 903), also known as Kan Shōjō (菅丞相) or Kanke (菅家), was a scholar, poet, and administrator of the Heian Period of Japan. He is regarded as an excellent poet, particularly in Chinese poetry. In Japanese mythology and folklore, Tenjin (天神) is the Shinto kami of scholarship, today revered as the god of learning, Tenman-Tenjin (天満天神), is shortened to Tenjin. Ten 天 means sky and jin 神 means god or deity. The original meaning of Tenjin, sky deity, is almost the same as that of Raijin (a god of thunder). The figure is usually siting on a stage, but also sometimes depicted sitting on a bull.
 
Following are a number different Tenjin dolls, from different regions of Japan, and different ages. Most are clean shaven, some have a beard. (reference of source is shown). In Japan student often give offerings to Tenjin before exams, plus in many areas the doll is given on Boys Day.

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These two dolls look to be a clean shaven, young Sugawara no Michizane (later Tenjin 天神 the Shinto kami of learning) sitting on box, one leg crossed, wearing a tachi, and holding bow in left hand, with quiver of arrows on his back. Interesting these two dolls are partly in reverse. Both have the mon of 5 large circles and a central smaller one (umebachi mon). These are Meiji period dolls and height is 15.5 cm, probably Fushimi made. [These were not in the Shosha no Sato museum exhibition].

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