Imaginatorium Shop
Covid-19: Shop status

We are gradually beginning to accept orders, but with very limited shipping options, which we have to handle manually. Please use the checkout form to request puzzles, and we will get back to you when we can. Please see the front page for more details.

Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

The Heian Period

Feature page for August 2006

For almost four hundred years (794-1185), while Europe was mired in the dark ages, Japan enjoyed a cultural explosion. During this era, learning from China reached its peak, while Japan also developed its own distinctive forms of art, literature, and architecture. The society was extremely non-egalitarian, but for the lucky tiny minority this must have seemed a most civilised time.

The era remains a popular one as a subject for art - most notably in scenes from Murasaki Shikibu's Tale of Genji, written in around 1000 AD, and said to be the world's first novel. Note the fashion indicators of the time: the high eyebrows, the (very) long hair, and the sumptuous kimonos...

Heian character collection

Dream purple
© Haruyo

300: Dream purple (Haruyo)

We instantly realise from the ankle-length hair that this character is from the Heian period, a thousand years ago, and an era of cultural flowering and incredibly ornate costumes. She reads a long, long letter, probably in the form of a poem, perhaps from a distant lover.

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.

Not available
Discontinued June 2020
An Apollo puzzle: 300 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: P48746 (48-746 on package)
Retail price ¥1400

Symbol of Heian glory

No puzzles currently available

----