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Antique Japanese Lady Warrior Doll, Large Ningyo Set

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Dolls: Pre 1920: Item # 420811

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Asian Art by Kyoko
Los Angeles
California
562-902-0625

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Antique Japanese Lady Warrior Doll, Large Ningyo Set
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Antique Japanese warrior doll, 20" Empress Jingyo ningyo(doll) set. Clad in armor is a beautiful young widow, Empress Jingo doll with her faithful minister, Takenouchi no Sukune, holding her baby Ojin. Over time, many of the baby dolls were lost or intentionally thrown away by later generations, probably because of the lack of historical understanding. An old Samurai holding a baby is simply inconceivable and uncharacteristic of a Samurai warrior. The Empress, after losing her hair, was treated as a regular Samurai doll by mistake. This baby happens to be the 15th Japanese emperor, Emperor Ojin, who was later known as “The God of War”.

Some records indicate that in 300 AD, God came down to talk to Empress Jingo in her sleep. This was when her husband, Emperor Chuai, was about to conquer the land of Kumaso (the southern Kyushu Island). In her dream, a god supposedly pointed at the sea towards the direction of Korea. However, Emperor Chuai ignored her dream and the warning and went ahead with his original plan. He should have listened to his wife, always ... As a result, god punished him; he became gravely ill and died. After his death, Empress Jingo, to spare her and her family from an angry curse placed upon them, gathered up the troops and embarked on a conquest to Korea. There was no resistance. Upon her triumphant return, she gave birth to Ojin in her country and raised him to be a strong warrior. Empress Jingo established herself as the “mother or women’s mirror” in Japanese terms, a character that parents wished to be reflected upon their daughters. The values have changed in Japan over the years but yet she will continue to be remembered as a legendary hero figure through dolls.

The dimensions of this set are: She is 20 inches tall (hat on), 14 inches across between the sleeves and he is 13 1/2 inches tall, 10 inches across. Their profiles show that they are the original pairs (see photo 9). The baby is a later addition and so is her hair.

When the dolls were taken out of the box, their condition was almost new except her hair. Her original human hair was brittle and fell apart in the box which was replaced with old but unused silk threads. The style of her hair was chosen by adding another reminiscent of the past, when the beauty of women was measured by the length of their hair. The faces are covered with Gofun, the mixture of ground oyster shells and animal glue, without any damage; eyes are covered with thin flat glass. His eyebrows are partially lost in small areas in the center of his eyebrows and neck lines which shows a white Gofun finish beneath. It could be easily hidden by adding/pasting more hair (cutting his beard?) on his eyebrows. Ca, Meiji (1868-1912)



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