Rare Japaneses Kakeshi Dolls


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SKU: VP0068 Categories: ,
Kokeshi, a form of wooden doll, first appeared in the Tōhoku region of northeastern Japan in the Nineteenth century toward the end of the Edo period [1603 – 1868 CE]. They emerged as a folk craft in hot spring mountain villages (Onsens) or prefectures that made up Tōhoku; Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, and Fukushima, which all have a heritage of traditional kokeshi making. It is folk art such as kokeshi that serves as a reminder for Japanese people of their heritage and therefore provides a sense of nostalgia. It is also their appearance that connects to Japanese values and their simplistic use of color and shape, as well as the designs of the kimonos they appear to wear, symbolize their innate ‘Japanese-ness’.

Initially crafted as toys for farmer’s children by woodturners who would otherwise make bowls and plates, kokeshi’s former design was simplistic but gradually painted with facial expressions and kimonos. The dolls were given as gifts on the birth of a child with the baby’s name painted on the back of the body, adding to the idea and feelings of nostalgia, a notion in Japanese society.
Despite no formal connection with the Shinto religion, Tōhoku’s spirituality has always been immersed and connected with the forests, nature, and animism and the dolls were an anchor of life for the villages of the region. It is thought that given the Onsen origin of the kokeshi dolls, their shape hints at the possibility that they were used as a massage tool in the springs.

Originally standing at 30cm tall, kokeshi dolls are characterized by their limbless bodies and heads that sit disproportionately to their frames. Their painted faces — applied in single strokes using a weasel-fur brush and a simple palette of black, red, and green — pose a variety of facial features, often dependent on their place of origin. Hand-carved on a lathe using cherry wood or dogwood, their creators, or masters, do every part of the crafting process themselves, bar the chopping of the trees. Tools are also created by the craftsman, due to, in part, a lack of blacksmiths skilled in the creation of the chisel tool, but also for varieties of comfort.


6cm wide x 13cm tall
7cm wide x 15cm tall
The Males head spring is a bit worn hence he is taller.
The woman’s hat was chipped away

They are truly special.

toward the end of the Edo period [1603 – 1868 CE].

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1. Feel free to email, message or call us at 0714095824
2. To purchase, name the item that you interested in.
3. Viewings are made via appointments.
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To secure sales we humbly require payments or deposits until collected. We cannot keep stock for longer than a week, unless arranged.

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