This miniature Hinaningyō set is held in a miniature red box with a floral design on the exterior. The set, only 1 1/4" tall, is an abbreviated version of the traditional Hinamatsuri doll arrangement. It has a pull-out, three-tiered stand on which the ten tiny dolls are positioned. Decorative paper covers each tier to represent a carpet, or something similar. The top tier features the emperor and empress dolls in front of the traditional gold folding screen, with plants in gold vases on either side of the pair. The emperor is dressed in a blue patterned kimono and the empress in a red patterned kimono. The second tier features the sannin kanjo, the three ladies in waiting; two are dressed in pink, and the one in the middle in red. The third tier features the gonin bayashi (five musicians); three are in dark blue patterned kimono, and the two alternating dolls are in light blue and white kimono. All of the figures have gold obi (sashes) and are cylindrical tubes of paper with blank faces and black hair, measuring less than half an inch tall each. The males have an additional piece of black paper to represent a hat or topknot.
Hinamatsuri, the Doll Festival or Girls' Day, is held annually on March 3 to celebrate the happiness and health of young girls. The holiday originated during the Edo period (1600-1868) to ward off evil spirits, and at some Hinamatsuri festivals today, people release paper dolls into the rivers to carry away sickness and bad fortune. Setting up a display of special festival dolls in the house is fundamental to the festival; the display is usually put up in mid-February but put away as soon as the festival ends because of old superstitions. Hinamatsuri dolls wear Heian period (794-1192) clothing, and are placed in specific locations on a one-, five-, or seven-tiered platform covered with red felt (depending on the number of dolls owned).