Saturday, February 1, 2014

Modern Era Japanese Dolls

Left, I gave this pair of Japanese Dolls to my younger daughter one Christmas.
Center, I believe they are characters from an opera, but I’m not sure of this.
 Right, The lady is dressed in bold reds and blacks. She has a very elaborate hair dressing.
      Silk-skinned or “mask-face” dolls became a popular craft in Japan in the 1920s and 1930s, allowing the individual to design elaborate kimono for dolls representing women of various periods of Japanese history, particularly the Edo period. Dolls of this type continued to be made and were a popular item for servicemen and tourists to bring back after World War II, though they also might choose dolls representing similar subjects made with gofun faces.
      Bisque dolls are made of fired clay. Fukuoka is a traditional center of the manufacture of bisque dolls, and Hakata ningyō are famous throughout Japan.
      Anesama ningyo and shiori ningyo (literally “big sister dolls” and “bookmark dolls,” respectively) are made of washi paper. Anesama ningyo tend to be three-dimensional, whereas shiori ningyo are flat. Anesama ningyo often have elaborate hairstyles and costumes made of high-quality washi paper. They often lack facial features. Those from Shimane prefecture are especially famous.
A hybrid of anesama ningyo and shiori nyngyo, called shikishi ningyo, has become popular in recent years. Shikishi ningyo are a type of Japanese paper dolls made with figures and scenes and are mounted on shikishi, a rectangular fancy cardboad about a square foot (about a tenth of a square meter) in size.
      More recent and less traditional Japanese dolls are ball-jointed dolls (BJDs), whose growth in popularity has spread to the US and other countries since the advent of the Super Dollfie, first made by Volks in 1999. BJDs can be very realistic-looking or based more on the anime aesthetic. They are made of polyurethane resin which makes them very durable. These dolls are highly customizable in that owners can sand them, change out their wig and eye colors, and even change their face paint. Because of this hands-on aspect of customization, they are not only popular with collectors, but also with hobbyists.

Left, The male is dressed in black and tan brocade fabrics. Center, Here is a close up of his upper torso.
Right, Above, is a view of his costume from the back.
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