Japanese modern and vintage kimono

Japanese dolls collection: Vintage and Antique

Japanese traditional dolls are known by the name 'ningyo' in Japan, which literally means 'human shape'. Dolls have been produced since the very early days of Japanese culture and they played an important roll in Japan, at festivals, as talisman, or just as a toy.
There are various types of Japanese dolls, some representing children, some the imperial court, samurai warriors and heroes, Kabuki and Noh theatre characters, and also people of the daily life of Japanese cities. Many have a long tradition and are still made today.
There are exist various types of traditional dolls in Japan. During centuries a great variety of forms developed, from dolls simply made out of paper by the children themselves to valuably kimono dressed and wonderfully molded unique objects, made by craftsmen and ordered by rich citizens and noblemen for the girls' and boys' festivals.
Already for the birth of a child dolls, as Kimekomi and Ichimatsu, were given as a present from the relatives.
Kimekomi refers to a method of making dolls. The ancestors of Kimekomi dolls are the Kamo ("willow-wood") dolls, small dolls carved of willow and decorated with cloth scraps. Kimekomi dolls start with a carved and/or molded base of wood, wood compo, or (in some modern dolls) plastic foam. A design of different patterned cloth scraps is planned out, and the base is grooved so that the edges of the cloth can be hidden in the grooves. The cloth is glued on and the edges tucked in. The head and hands (if any) of the doll are usually finished with gofun; the hair may be part of the molded head or be a separate wig. These dolls have become a very popular craft.
Ichimatsu are the child dolls correctly proportioned usually made to hold in the arms, dress, and pose with their movable hands and legs.

During the Tokugawa period travelers took Gosho-Ningyo with them as a talisman, and Kokeshi dolls as souvenirs from hot-spring resorts of Tohoku region.

The Gosho dolls are one of noble descent, and it represent a uniquely Japanese form. In most examples, clothing is limited to a strict minimum and is either painted or pasted on. By tradition, they represent chubby, almost naked little boys with large heads, round bodies and brilliant white skin. They generally show an originality and character which places them in a special category of Japanese dolls.
The Gosho was created as a presentation doll and was not meant to be a plaything. Although originally the privilege of the aristocracy, Gosho dolls gradually became widely popular. In Japan these dolls are considered to be a classic art form and are appreciated as such.

Japanese traditional dolls on our site are presented wide array of traditional techniques, each with distinctive characteristics. You can see antique Samurai doll fully armored and beautifully rendered Maiko doll and Geisha Doll or Kabuki doll with mask and on dance position, graceful Hakata clay figurines and other items of Japanese art.
Today all over the world antique dolls, including Japanese dolls as well, belong to the most sought after collectors' object.
Japanese Hakata figurines are the best known craft items from Fukuoka Prefecture, which lies in the north of the island of Kyushu. The origin of this local specialty goes back to around 1586-1608. In that year the feudal lord of Fukuoka, Nagamasa KURODA, was having a new castle built. One day he noticed one of the workmen making dolls from the clay used for the palace's tile roof. The workmanship was so superb that the ruler employed the craftsman to make dolls and ornaments for the castle. Sohichi, the doll maker, passed his secrets down through his family and the sons were figurine makers for four generations. As a youth, however, the fifth Sohichi revealed a weakness for "sake". This, plus lack of patience for detailed work, made his father reluctant to put the family's reputation in his hands. The professional secrets were given to the doll maker's daughter who passed them on to her son, the sixth Sohichi. This man, too, was a heavy drinker, but for all of that he was skilled craftsman. Soon after the revolutionary war in 1858, he died without passing his trade secrets to his next generation. About eleven years later, a group of artists pooled their talents to revive the art of making pottery or fired clay dolls. They developed a highly finished substitute, which in 1885, was Exhibited at the national exhibition representing the arts of Hakata. Originally called the Sohichi-yaki (Sohichi Pottery), it gradually became known as the Hakata doll after the place of its birth.

Japanese Hakata figurine
Hakata Figurine Collection
Japanese doll
Japanese Dolls Collection
japanese fine art catalogue
Japanese Fine Art

Japanese modern and vintage kimono