April 24, 2009

Kokeshi Doll?!

Today I went to town in search of kokeshi (Japanese wooden dolls).  My hunt was unsuccessful. So I looked around the internet and I found some new, modern kokeshi

In a nutshell, kokeshi were being made by artisans who usually made bowls and other daily things out of wood.  They started making dolls for extra money to sell to tourists who came to their villages... I've also heard stories about how people bought the dolls to take place of their children when they had to send them out of the "nest".  However, I have found close to nothing on the internet that confirms that "rumor".  

The dolls were toys for children...but since old toys are often replaced with new shiny and plastic toys...they became less and less popular with children and more and more popular among collectors.  

My Japanese grandmother's side of the family used to be a successful kokeshi manufacturer.  I had totally forgotten about that bit of family history.  I mention this now because I called my mother to ask her about "all those kokeshi dolls we used to have"... unfortunately we do not have a single one left...thus no pictures and one of the reasons why I went on a search today.

why kokeshi now?

because...I recently received these wonderfully strange kokeshi "dolls"...

Yep, they are matches!  Kokeshi Matches...
On the box it says "jinsei no tomoshibi" = "the flickering light of life" ...
Let's take a closer look at the "doll".
LOL.  The things people do for art.  I love art.
I walked around town in search of a small wooden doll and found this...huge feet?
A GIANT wooden doll...It's name is Breechan.  It is a 12 meter tall wooden marionette.
According to the sign, Breechan moves 8 times a day.  I didn't get to see it move today maybe next time.


Jelica said...

It seems like a lot of hard work to have painted the faces of the dolls on matches--I would be sad to burn them.

I_am_Tulsa said...

Oh I don't think I'll be burning them either! I have no idea (yet) how these are being made!