Posted 4 years ago
Amigurumi is a Japanese word which means crocheted or knitted (ami) stuffed doll (nuigurumi) and it's history seems a bit vague to me. It is said to have originated in Japan in the early 1900s, but came to real popularity circa 2000 when it became a big player in the Japanese kawaii (cute) culture. However small knitted dolls have also been known as a hand craft in China for at least a century so it is difficult to know who created them first. True amigurumi is very small, and the figures I have here are generally around 40mm, 1.5in.
I have two sets of amigurumi, and in fact both are probably Chinese, not Japanese. All are made from cotton thread, either knitted or crocheted, and stuffed hard with an unknown medium. Details are hand stitched.
The first set is quite old, at least 40 years, and consists of a family with animals and a little wooden kitchen. The detail in the figures of this set, photos 1 and 2, are amazing. There is little wooden painted faces on the people, and quite complex clothing and accessories. The animals are beautifully characterised; the dog is perfect I think and the panda with it's bamboo is accurate to his claws and eyeballs. The style of clothing and the inclusion of the panda make me believe this set is Chinese, although I cannot be certain.
The second set in photos 3 and 4, are much newer and less detailed, although still wonderfully made. These are from this century and were made in Hong Kong, according to their box.
Photo 3, left to right: billy goat, pig, rabbit, horse, pug, squirrel (?).
Photo 4, left to right: squirrel (?), goose, elephant, chicken, cat, giraffe, duck.
Amigurumi seems to have a bit of a following, and there are patterns available online to make your own. I think you would need great skills to do so!
Depending on the detail in them, good amigurumi can be around the $50 mark for each piece. When I consider the work in them, I really don't think they are expensive.