cherries and dog-shaped box

Creation date
ink, color, and gold on silk
Mark Descriptions
Signature: Kaikai Kiitsu Seal: Shukurin
35 3/16 x 11 1/4 in. (image) 65 3/4 x 17 1/2 in. (overall)
Credit line
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Crane Fund
Accession number
Not Currently On View


Together with the cherry blossoms, the images here indicate the girls’ doll festival, or hinamatsuri, traditionally observed on the third day of the third lunar month. The painting is therefore a festive celebration of spring.

The clamshells were used for a matching game, with identical motifs or parts of a poem painted on the inner faces of corresponding halves. The shells were placed painted sides down and turned over one at a time.

The dog-shaped box with a child’s face was given to an expectant mother. The dog symbolized ease and safety of delivery for the mother, and was also a talisman to ward off evil for the child.

Alan Strassman; purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2000.
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

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