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Symbolism across cultures: W.B. Yeats and Farmleigh’s Hina Matsuri Dolls

Margaret Soden
Farmleigh House and Estate

As Farmleigh House is the State Guesthouse, artefacts which serve to acknowledge and celebrate cross cultural heritage are highly significant. This significance will be explored in a blog which focuses on a pair of Japanese dolls presented to Irish poet W.B. Yeats in 1927. The dolls represent the material culture of Japan, but also symbolise how Japanese culture influenced W.B. Yeats and helped him formulate his own “aristocratic form” of theatre. The blog will move between examining how material culture accumulates and settles on an object within one culture, and then consider how these iconic objects can transcend time and borders to have significance in another continent country and culture. The Hina Matsuri Dolls are a key exhibit at the annual Experience Japan day. A one-day festival staged at Farmleigh Estate every March which seeks to promote cultural awareness and integration.

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