Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art

Kimekomo Ningyo â Edo/Meiji

Kimekomo Ningyo – Edo/Meiji

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Dolls: Pre 1900: Item # 600405

Please refer to our stock # SNF when inquiring.
An old Japanese kimekomi doll of a small boy with outstretched right arm. The doll is an original kamo ningyo in that it is made of willow wood with the face and hands left unfinished. The hand on this doll has become slightly detached and is hanging from the sleeve at the rest - easily corrected.

The doll measures 2 5/8" high by 3" wide by 1 7/8" deep - we date it to the mid to late Edo to early Meiji period,circa 1850-1890s. Very good condition with the exception of the loose hand, a chip to the upper lip and the garment shows some signs of age. Still quite fine for a doll of this age and rarity.

Kimekomi is a technique of doll making in which the doll form is carved of wood and then covered with pieces of fabric which are inserted into slits in the wood to give the illusion of clothing. The wood is carved into the shape of a doll in full clothing, and all effect of folding and draping of fabric is achieved in the carving process. When the fabric is added, it is stretched tightly across the form and the edges tucked into the grooves, perfectly fitting over its area of the 'clothing'. This method can be so well done that until touching the figure, it seems as if the doll is wearing regular clothing.

The original kimekomi-type dolls are kamo ningyo. It is believed that during the mid 18th century, Takahashi Tadashige created the technique at the Kamo shrine in Kyoto, from which the name is derived. Made of willow wood, the uncovered face and hands would be left unfinished, keeping the color of the willow, differentiated them from later doll.