This edition of niponica takes you into a world of gold, silver, light and other glittering touches used to highlight elements in Japanese culture, from traditional handicrafts to contemporary pop design.

Splendor and Sparkle in Japanese Culture

Top: “Match the Shells” (kai-awase) is an ancient game. The aim is to find matching half-shells which have paired illustrations or waka lines of poetry. These ones, dating from the 17th century, depict scenes from Genji Monogatari (Tales of Genji) with gold and vivid color. (The Tales are a masterpiece of literature focusing on the lives of the aristocracy.) In the background are the boxes that hold them, called Saishiki Genji e-kai oke. Property of the Tokyo National Museum. (Photo courtesy of the TNM Image Archives)
Two photos below: Lacquer bowls decorated with makie, using fine gold powder to highlight the design. 19th to 20th century. Both bowls property of the Kyoto National Museum.

niponica no.14
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