The story of Takasago - Japanese Mataro Doll

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The story of Takasago

The story of Takasago

Takasago dolls symbolize the longevity and harmony of a marital relationship. The motif is an elderly couple, fairies of Aioi no Matsu, a phenomenon where the male and female pine trees ("matsu") grow intertwined with one another. The Aioi no Matsu thus symbolizes a strong conjugal tie and in Japan these dolls are a popular engagement gift. Also, pine trees symbolize longevity and are treated as very auspicious trees in Japan.

The Noh play Takasago

A Shinto priest of Aso Shrine once visited Takasago of Harima no kuni, which is now called Hyogo prefecture, on the way trip. There were beautiful pine trees, and in the shade of the trees, an elderly couple was sweeping around the trees.

The man of the couple told the legend that "Pine trees of Takasago and Sumiyoshi are Aioi no Matsu(pine tree), those are husband and wife even they are separated" to the priest. In fact, the couple was a fairy of the pine trees of Takasago and Sumiyoshi. They told the truth to the priest and then disappeared.

The end of this noh play, the priest went toward Sumiyoshi. The god of Sumiyoshi Shrine came out in front of the priest and dance.

The bamboo rake that the old man has, is a tool to sweep and gather the leaves of Aioi no Matsu, a symbol of longevity. The broom the the woman has is a tool to sweep off the evil. Both are bringers of good luck.

The auspiciousness of the Takasago dolls are exquisite in every respect.

Pine, bamboo and plum

This is an idea from China. Even in the depth of winter Pine trees and bamboos do not lose their color and plum trees blossom out. Those plants considered as expressions of purity and chastity, which were ideals of Chinese intellectuals.

Why do Japanese people celebrate longevity?

It could be thought that this idea is also came from China, because Chinese people used to respect mountain hermits , a legendary immortal wizard living in the mountains and performing miracles.

Takasago dolls

Width 60cm, Depth 30cm, Height 25cm
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Width 45cm, Depth 22cm, Height 21cm
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Width 21cm, Depth 18cm, Height 13cm
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Japanese traditional dolls: Mataro Doll