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April 1st: The Post Office is not accepting packages to 153 coutries; so we have stopped accepting orders for the immediate future. This will change; I have to make the checkout accept only selected countries, which will take a day or so. Please go ahead and browse, and if you want to order puzzles you can send us details on the special form at the checkout. We will keep your order ready for later payment and despatch.

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.

In stock
An Apollo puzzle: 300 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: P48746 (48-746 on package)
Retail price ¥1400 (approx. US$13.46 €12.50 £11.02)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.77 €5.36 £4.72)
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Symbol of Heian glory

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