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Kokeshi dolls - I think

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Posted 6 years ago


(1 item)

I found these two little wooden dolls in a thrift shop. They are a bit beat up but interesting. The larger doll is 6 inches tall; the small is approximately 5 inches. The heads have pegs in the centre which fit into a hole in the conical neck. They both have bands, upper and lower, of what looks like striped silk fabric. It's a bit difficult to see but the larger has what appears to be ink drawing of trees and the smaller an ink drawing of a bird on a bush, the bird is a beautiful light blue colour as are the two thin elliptical paint marks on the top of this dolls head. The larger doll has the same markings but in red. They are both made out of a fairly hard wood but are definitely machine made. I wondered if they might have been circa WWII and made for a cheap souvenir. If anyone has seen any like this before and knows a little about them I would love to hear it. Thank you.

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  1. japanfanbev japanfanbev, 4 years ago
    These are definitely "creative" kokeshi. Most likely date is 1950s onwards. They've been in the sunlight for too long at some stage which has darkened the wood. The blue paint can fade, so you've been lucky with the bird there. If the heads are intended to move then they are generally classified as "nodder" kokeshi (people also call them "bobble heads"). Hope that helps...
  2. bevincambridge, 4 years ago
    Thank you japanfanbev, I had to look on the internet to see what you meant by creative but now know that creative kokeshi are different from traditional. Lots of interesting examples of both on the internet. When I found them in the thrift shop the heads were seperate from the bodies and it was the blue bird I saw first. Such a beautiful colour, I'm glad it survived. Your date range is later than I thought but given the machining makes sense. The heads are stationary so not nodders, they are odd little things but I really like them. Thanks for the info.
  3. japanfanbev japanfanbev, 4 years ago
    As you might be able to tell from my posts I love kokeshi too. I started off by buying a bit manically from flea markets when I lived in Japan, but have specialised to 1950s nodders in the years since (postage costs from Japan & the US being prohibitive). I gave several of my initial purchases away to friends & family as presents from my time in Japan ("omiyage" in Japanese) but still enjoy seeing them when I visit my friends' houses...

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