Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Part of Shell Game (Kaiawase) Set

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
18th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Painted shell
Dimensions:
Approx.: H. 3/4 in. (1.9 cm); W. 3 in. (7.6 cm); D. 2 3/8 in. (6 cm)
Classification:
Shell
Credit Line:
Gift of Yukikazu Iwasa, 1988
Accession Number:
1988.289.12a, b
Not on view
The shell game was a popular pastime in the Edo period. Sets like this one were often included in a daimyo bride's trousseau. To play the game, a number of shells are divided between two boxes. One group is taken out and then matched one at a time to the halves from the second box. Pairs of related scenes from the Tale of Genji and other romances are painted on the inside of the shells as clues.
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