One of a Pair of Incense Boxes in the Shape of Dog Charms
Edo period (1615–1868)
Porcelain with overglaze enamels (Minpei kilns)
H. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm); L. 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm)
Gift of Mrs. V. Everit Macy, 1923
Not on view
Pairs of dog-shaped papier-mâché figures (inuhariko) were produced from the Heian period on as protective amulets. By the beginning of the Edo period, they were part of the traditional wedding set, used to ensure safe childbirth and also to protect the child's health. Initially, inuhariko pairs—male and female—were presented at the engagement ceremony; later, they had an important role in the wedding process as well—they were carried in the wedding palanquin as good luck amulets. Inuhariko can also be found in the shape of cats.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seasonal Pleasures in Japanese Art (Part One)," October 12, 1995–April 28, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Beautiful Country: Yamato-e in Japanese Art," November 20, 2010–June 5, 2011.