Japanese textiles dolls ceramics kanzashi by Asian Art by Kyoko

Antique Takeda Ningyo, Noh Okina Dancer Female Doll

Antique Takeda Ningyo, Noh Okina Dancer Female Doll

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Dolls: Pre 1900: Item # 552726
Asian Art By Kyoko
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This is an exceptionally beautiful antique Japanese doll. The face of the doll is small but delicate. It has the look of a Noh mask with painted skinny eyes and a nose that is extra high. This indicates that the doll was intended to be a beautiful woman. The color on her lips is almost all faded leaving a green dot on her lower lip. The green lip color (mixture of red and black) that I first thought as a sign of a spooky Obake creature was actually a fashion trend during the Genroku era in early Edo (1603-1868). The face has a beautiful age patina; it appears white depending on the lighting but it has a brownish/yellowish tone.

Her elaborate clothing is somehow mixture of the attires of courtiers and court ladies from the Heian period (794-1192) and later. This style of attire is still worn today by the Imperial family for special ceremonies. The gown is delicately detailed with embroideries and couching stitches with the background of crepe silk (light rusty brown in salmon pink). We gave her long silk hair and an old fan. The #12 photo shows her head prior to the work. No glue was used. She is secured on a Takeda stand (with a window in the front) in a very sturdy manner; the heavy sticks go through from her feet to the stands; the work skillfully hides the nail behind the geta sandal (geta is partially chiseled out).

The high wooden sandal (geta, ashida) on this doll is a peculiar combination with the elegant attire. We were very puzzled who this doll may be and came up with Shizuka Gozen who was Yoshitsune’s lover ; high geta is associated with the image of Yoshitsune (Minamoto family) or his retainer, Benkei. We chose #3. If you are interested in the store of Shizu, please read the following The Rising Power of Samurai.

The condition is almost perfect but missing bows on one side. The brownish stain on back of the sleeve is old glue. It has some color loss in the gown but it faded evenly on the front and back. Her clothing is tailored in the same meticulous way that we have seen in some Takeda dolls or well-made Hina dolls. Note: the female Takeda dolls that we had seen in photos were quite different from the male dolls; very small movements and little facial expression. The size of this doll is not large, approx. 13 inches tall with high geta on Takeda ningyo (doll) stand.

The Rising Power of Samurai:

The Dance of Shizu (Shizu no Mai) took place approx. 800 years ago when the Minamoto (Genji family) was regaining power back from the Taira family (Heike). Yoshitsune (Minamoto) was on the run from Yoritomo (oldest half brother) who became increasingly suspicious and probably jealous of Yoshitsune. Shizu was a well-known Shirabayashi dancer (they danced in men's custumes) in Kyoto when she met Yoshitsune (Minamoto). Yoshitsune had just returned to Kyoto as a dashing young hero (this quickly changed to fugitive) after winning the major battles against the Heike that lead to the end of the Heian era.

Yoritomo captured her and while in captivity, Shizu gave birth to the son of Yoshitsune. The baby was quickly killed by Yoritomo. There was an order (by Yoritomo) to dance in front of Yoritomo and his clan which came rightafter the death of her baby. There, Shizuka Gozen boldly sang the famous song, "Yoshino-yama …, Shizuya, Shizu…. Odamai no…" while she danced. The poem is translated into, "I saw you last vanishing into the snowy mountain path of Mt. Yoshino. How I wish to go back to the old times when you used to call me, Shizu-ya, Shizu, repeatedly so often, just as the thread of Shizu (in this case, old shizucloth that was worn by poor people) repeatdly spun around the Odamaki(spool?)." It was a love poem for Yoshitsune and you can imagine how angry Yoritomo became. The stories from this era were told by the traveling monks with music instruments called "biwa", recorded in books and played many times on the stage of Noh, Jyoruri, Kabuki, etc.