Artefacts from Japan on show

Ruth Martin, Leeds City Museum's curator of exhibitions, with the hagoita and parasol.
Ruth Martin, Leeds City Museum's curator of exhibitions, with the hagoita and parasol.
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Different cultures across the world have found a myriad of colourful and diverse ways to celebrate the start of a new year.

Everything from breathtaking fireworks to eye-catching dragons have become part of the different ways countries mark the passing of one seasonal cycle and the beginning of another.

In Japan, one tradition sees party-goers play a game of Hanetsuki, similar to badminton but played without a net and with a rectangular wooden paddle called a hagoita, like this one currently on display at Leeds City Museum.

The hagoita is on show alongside other Japanese artefacts, a parasol and a porcelain vase, as part of For All Seasons, a free exhibition which looks at the various ways the changing seasons influence the world.

Ruth Martin, Leeds City Museum’s curator of exhibitions, said: “New Year is traditionally a time for celebration, and those festivities take many different forms for people living in different cultures across the world.

“What unites them all is that they mark the end of one cycle of changing seasons and the beginning of a new one, a time when we look ahead with optimism and positivity. That shows just how much power the seasons have to influence our mood and how we look at the world.”

The hagoita on display dates from around the 1950s and is decorated with a traditional Japanese blossom pattern.

Also on show in For All Seasons are paintings by Leeds artist John Atkinson Grimshaw, vintage fashions and wildlife. The family-friendly exhibition, which runs until August 28, features imaginative centrepieces including a giant sandcastle.

For more details about the exhibition and activities, please visit: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Seasons.aspx.

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