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Shippo

Motif Information
Motif shippo 01.png
Rōmaji Shippō, Shippou, Shichihou, Nanatsutakara
English Seven Treasures
Kanji 七宝
Kana しっぽう・しちほう・ななつたから
Season All Season
Seasonal Exceptions None
Auspicious Yes
Motif Type Geometric, Auspicious, Religious
Pronounciation
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Shippō (also shippou, shichihou, nanatsutakara) (lit. seven treasures) is a design derived from cloisonne work in which a metal object is carved in high relief and the removed portions are filled with colored enamel. The seven treasures are a traditionally Buddhist concept. The earliest appearances of shippō on textiles are preserved at Shousouin and date to the Heian period. During the Edo period it became more common to combine shippō with other motifs and it became popular as a motif on women's kimono.

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

Shippō is an auspicious design and is therefore non-seasonal. However, it is often featured on kimono that are to be worn in times in which one would want good luck, such as weddings, children's kimono for Omiyamairi and Shichi-go-san, and new years.


Motif Connotations & Symbolism

The original seven treasures according to the Infinite Life Sutra are[1]

  • kin 金 (gold)
  • gin 銀 (silver)
  • ruri 瑠璃 (lapis lazuli])
  • menou 瑪瑙(agate)
  • shako 硨磲 (giant clam shell)
  • sango 珊瑚 (coral) / shinju 真珠 (pearl) in the Lotus Sutra
  • hari 玻璃 (clear quartz) / 玫瑰 maikai (rose quartz) in the Lotus Sutra
Shippō is the abbreviated representation of these seven treasures.

Auspicious Nature

As a treasure motif, shippō is worn in the hopes that luck and fortune will come the wearer's way.

Common Motif Pairings

Identification & Style Variations

Shippō looks like 4 marquis touching end-to-end going in a circle. Sometimes, the roundel has four circles outside the points where the marquis meets. There are also alternate abbreviations, such as hollow diamonds flanked by four circles and a large diamond composed of four smaller diamonds, also with four circles.

Shippō is an umbrella term for any abbreviation of the seven treasures. The design of interlocking circles is referred to as "shippō tsunagi" (shippō chain), and when they surround a Hanabishi, it is referred to as "hanawachigai" (different wreath).

Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

Where possible - try to find examples of motif in literature, art and real life. If you are unable to find an example - remove this section.

In Poetry

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

  • Link to any relevant threads on IG

References

  1. Kotobank - Shippō

Image Credits

  • Please credit any image used with the exception of images from Immortal Geisha or Moonblossom's photo gallery or anyone else who stated they don't need crediting.

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: Evan Mason (hikari_evyon (IG Username))

Contributors: Rachel Niedermeyer tzippurah (IG Username)