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I bought this beautiful hagoita in Japan when I lived there for 3 years. A hagoita is a wooden paddle used to play the new year game, hanetsuki, something like badmitton. It's usually decorated with beautiful drawings. Even though kids don't play this game much any more, the paddle itself is valued as an ornament that is believed to bring good luck. A hagoita market is held every year in December at the Sensôji temple in Asakusa, a famous shitamachi district in Tôkyô. It's a spectacular event attracting some 300,000 people, who come to buy paddles from the approximately 50 stalls selling nothing but hagoita.

The market began around 350 years ago duing the Edo period (1603 ~ 1868). The drawings are usually created with washi or cloth, and then pasted onto the paddle so they protrude like a relief. Traditional hagoita commonly feature portraits of famous geisha or kabuki actors.

My hagoita is quite fancy with real silk brocade kimono fabric and braid, a decorated headdress, and velvet hair and handle. Her face is hand-painted as is the back of the paddle. It’s 12½” tall and 4½” (32 x 11.5cm) at the widest part. It’s in excellent condition. It can be hung on a wall.

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Be sure to check out my other artwork in the section "Art/Paper Goods."

To see my unique, handmade jewelry inspired by my world travels, go to my other Etsy shop - SandraDesigns.etsy.com