Hina Dolls and Accessories
The beloved dolls of the princesses of the Shimadzu family
Each year between February 15th and April 26th the Sengan-en Hina Matsuri is held here at Sengan-en. The hina festival is celebrated all over Japan in order to pray for the health and success of girls, but each area has it’s own particular traditions, and Kagoshima is no exception.
A collection of Hina dolls and their intricately detailed accessories will be on display at the Shoko Shuseikan Museum Annex.
Accompanying the display of hina dolls is a huge collection of miniature accessories – over 400 pieces! The amazingly detailed miniature accessories tell the story of the daily life of a Japanese princess.
These accessories were given as presents to the Shimadzu family by fifth Tokugawa Shogun, Tsunayoshi. Tsunayoshi’s adopted daughter Take-hime married Shimadzu Tsugutoyo and the hina doll accessories were one of the presents for their marriage. The accessories prominently feature the Tokugawa hollyhock and the Shimadzu peony family crests.
The display, which is over 6 meters wide and has five tiers, contains various miniature items used in daily life during the Edo period. The items include various boxes, cabinets, calligraphy equipment, palanquins, bowls, and even a number of weapons.
There are many different styles of dolls, but these particular dolls are modeled on the aristocracy of the Heian period (794-1185). These dolls provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of high ranking nobles in the distant past.
The Hina Matsuri is a rare chance to see the traditional culture of the Edo period on display while enjoying the cherry blossoms in bloom around the gardens.
Shiho is a curator at the Shoko Shuseikan Museum and award winning author. She regularly gives lectures on the history of the Shimadzu family and the Satsuma domain.
Her book “Minna no Saigo-san” introduces the life of Saigo Takamori. Shiho most recently edited the second edition of “Fireside Tales of the South” by Shimadzu Tadashige.