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© Studio Morita / Studio Oz Inc

300: Sparkler (Haruyo)

The Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari) is said to be the world's first novel, written in around 1000 AD, by the Lady Murasaki Shikibu (978-1016). Haruyo has chosen vignettes from the story, to illustrate the opulent fashion of court life in the Heian era.

The wearer of this kimono is holding a senkô hanabi, a firework that makes up for its lack of power with an exquisite delicacy. From the dangling, glowing blob, delicate sparks fly like filligree fronds.

The original title, Ryô, means simply "cool" - for anyone who comes from England as I do, it helps to remember that in Japan fireworks mean summer, since there are no long light evenings to get in the way.


The artist Morita Haruyo studied both Japanese art and kimono design, and she combines these with elements of her own Western-influenced technique. (She travelled to London in 1977, exactly the year I [Brian Chandler] first came to Tokyo.)

Morita is her family name: she follows the tradition of signing - and sealing - paintings with her given name only.

Permanently unavailable
An Epoch puzzle: 300 pieces; 26 x 38 cm (10" x 15")
Code: E07429 (300N-429 on box)
Retail price ¥1800

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