Kaioke – Japanese Shell Game

Two octagonal shell game boxes

p4A ItemID D9858286
Lacquer shell game boxes, kaikoe

p4A ItemID D9814312
A pair of Japanese gilt decorated red lacquered shell game boxes, Kai-oke, Meiji Period, 19th century, ribbed circular bodies and covers raised on four splayed buttress supports

p4A ItemID E8971676
Black lacquer and gilt-decorated four-tier box, Japanese, late 19th/20th century

p4A ItemID F7984496

Kaioke – Japanese Shell Game

The shell game kaioke or “hokkai” was played with 360 double-valved shells (kai), half of the shells enclosed a poem, the other half a drawing which corresponded to it; the shells were distributed one by one and the goal was to match the poem with the drawing; whoever was left with an ‘orphan’ lost the game.

Information courtesy of Sotheby’s October, 2007.

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