Horse dolls of Japan, part 1: Miharu-goma

A friend from Himeji was clearing out the cupboards in her old family house in Aioi and put aside a few things she thought I might be interested in. Amongst the pile was a pair of old  white wooden horses (chagu chagu umako) from Morioka city in Iwate prefecture. How delightful they are!

Chagu-chagu umako horse dolls

Continue reading Horse dolls of Japan, part 1: Miharu-goma

Kubi ningyo – clay dolls on a wood stick

Kubi-ningyo doll pair
Kubi-ningyo doll pair

What a fierce  (humorous?) looking pair of dolls!   Knowing absolutely nothing about them, I bought them some months ago at the Shitennoji temple market in Osaka….

Continue reading Kubi ningyo – clay dolls on a wood stick

Japanese Ningyo Dolls: five different kinds

Shopping at the flea markets in Kansai this month, I purchased five different vintage dolls. Dolls are made all over Japan as objects of art or toys, and there is a huge variety of styles and materials to choose from. It’s funny that I was never interested in dolls as a child, but now I’m starting to find them fascinating!

From left:

1. Kimekomi doll:  The dolls are made of wood into which has been carved shallow grooves. The wooden base is then covered in fabric which is tucked into the grooves in the wood. Why are they referred to as kimekomi dolls? ‘Ki’ means wood in Japanese, and ‘mekomi’ refers to the technique used to tuck the fabric into the grooves in the wood. Continue reading Japanese Ningyo Dolls: five different kinds