ULTRA RARE Japanese Dreidel Gyro Spinner Top Red White
ULTRA RARE! This is a Japanese beach found game piece from my collection - it’s not a piece of jewellery.
This is a really rare sea glass spinner top (dreidel or gyro !) . It’s a well frosted spinner in a lovely milk glass with red swirls!
This piece was featured in the Beachcombing magazine issue 31 July / August 2022
This game piece approx dates back to the Taisho or early Showa period ( 1920-30s).
Spinner Top is approx 1.8 x 1.8cm
OHAJIKI:Ohajiki (おはじき) is a traditional Japanese children's game similar to marbles, but flat in shape. It is played with small coin-shaped pieces also called 'ohajiki'. The pieces are typically made of glass or plastic, although historically the game was often played with pebbles or go stones. The game became popular as an indoor game for girls during the Edo period.
These ohajiki are from Miyazaki and Fukuoka, Japan and found by a beach comber friend.
This ohajiki has not been altered in any way, there is no glue or channel drilling involved in this piece of jewellery. It is important to me that the ohajiki is 'untouched' just the way it was found on the beach.
All pictures taken inside without flash.
HISTORY: Ohajiki is played with flattened ceramic or glass pieces (though some use plastic today) – as though a spherical marble were flattened. The pieces come in different colors, but relatively in the same round, thick coin shape and a size of about 1 to 1.5 centimeter’s diameter. Some sets are perfectly uniform, some aren’t. Ohajiki pieces usually have a crisscross or linear etch on both sides, possibly to make it easier to grip with one’s fingers while playing.
The game “Ohajiki” comes from the Japanese word “hajiku”, which means “flicking”. While it is a game for all children, it is more known as a game played by girls. The word “Ohajiki” itself refers to the special marble-like pieces that are used to play the game.
It is suggested that the game has been played as early as the Nara period, which began as early as the year 710 and ended 794. The is said to have originally come from China. The Nara period was indeed a portion of Japanese history where Japan benefitted significantly from Chinese influence, much of which was brought in by traveling monks. Aside from games, other aspects of Japanese culture were shared by China, such as language, arts, religion, and more.
The game faded into obscurity much after the Nara period, however during the Edo period (which lasted from 1603 until 1868) that the game re-emerged, and its popularity soared. At this point, female children of different classes (not just those of nobility this time) most often played the game. By the time the Meiji restoration had taken place and was already fast approaching the Taisho period (1912 – 1926), special Ohajiki pieces emerged that were made of glass.