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Motif Information
Motif shells 02.jpg
Rōmaji Kaigara
English Seashell
Kanji 貝殻
Kana かいがら
Season Unknown
Seasonal Exceptions Unknown
Auspicious No
Motif Type Fish, Sea Animal

Kaigara (or Kaikaku; seashells) are a multi-seasonal motif, appearing on kimono from awase to ro and sha. Several variants of seashells are found as motifs, with common types including scallops, murex (from which purple dye can be derived), turbinids such as Guildfordia triumphans and wentletraps.

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

Seashell motifs appear on items ranging from awase kimono to ro and open-weave items, and can be considered multi-seasonal unless paired with season-specific items.

Common Motif Pairings

  • Nami (waves)
  • Ningyou (mermaids)
  • Miru (seaweed)
  • Kaioke (shell boxes) are a related motif and represent a shell-matching game which originated in the Heian era; the shells from this game are usually depicted as clamshell halves with painted interiors depicting classical patterns and flowers, and kaioke are far more common as a motif.

Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

Shells (貝甲図, Baiko-zu, 1761) by Itō Jakuchū in the collection of the Imperial Household Agency (宮内庁三の丸尚蔵館)

In Poetry

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions


Micro shells DATABASE 貝類データベース : SEARCH けんさく
University of California Museum of Paleontology- The Gastropoda
Seashell Identification Guide

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: (# (IG Username))