VINTAGE JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLL

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KOKESHI MEANING

The kokeshi dolls (do not confound with Kimmidolls made in Australia), are wooden Japanese dolls created 150 years ago (towards the end of the Edo period), by woodworkers in northern Honshu (the most large island of Japan), in the area of Tohoku.

 

Their manufacture is artisanal. The kokeshi are painted and decorated with flowers or other motifs, then covered with lacquer. In order to create a kokeshi doll, the wood must be dried for 1 to 5 years, so that it is suitable for sculpture.

At the beginning of their creation, these dolls representing little girls were toys for peasant's children or souvenirs for tourists. These traditional Japanese dolls consisting of a head and a cylindrical body, symbolized the desire to have a child in good health.

However, kokeshi have not always been children's toys:

 

"A long time ago, when people in her village were still living in extreme poverty, women could kill their own children right after birth, so as not to starve them to death. For each child killed, a kokeshi was made, which means 'to make the child disappear', so that people never forget that it was thanks to the sacrifice of these children that they had survived. "

 

There is no indisputable explanation for deciding the meaning of these dolls. The true bearing of Kokeshi dolls is that of tenderness. These pretty Japanese wooden dolls are offered, in the Japanese tradition, to declare  friendship or love to the person who receives it.


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