Japanese Hina Emperor and Empress in seated position on silk cushions and thrones in custom original box. The dolls have the early style carved wood faces and hands, covered in white gofun, and feature glass eyes. They have their original headdresses and flags are mounted behind the figures. They are in custom made wood cabinets (glass is missing). The sizes of dolls are 4-1/2" H x 5-1/2" W x 2-1/2" D, and the wooden cabinet is 11-1/2" H x 15-1/2" W x 6-1/8" D, and the overall weight is 4.8 Lbs. The overall condition is very good, with some expected fading of the colors in the material.
This pair of Hina dolls was acquired from the estate of Bessie Marie Harris in 1998. The dolls had been on loan (as part of a large collection of Asian antiques) to the Oklahoma Museum of Art for exhibit purposes from 1970-1998. At that time, the relatives of Ms. Harris withdrew the items from exhibit and placed them for sale at auction in Oklahoma, City.
Bessie Marie Harris began her collection of Asian antiques and art while serving on the staff of General George Marshall. In June 1946, while in Nanking, China, Bessie started to work for General George Marshall. Her first duty was to record his press conferences. Later that month, she recorded the first conference between General Marshall, General Chou En-lai and General Han Yung Chang (General Chou En-lai’s second in command). In July, General and Madame Chang Kai-shek paid their respects to General Marshall and his staff. Bessie being the only woman on General Marshall’s staff, therefore, was the only woman at any of the conferences. Later that month, General Chou En-lai personally introduced his wife to Bessie. This was the beginning of a long and historical career for Ms. Harris, and her assignments to places in China, Japan and Korea enabled her to obtain many Asian antiques, dating back to the 7th century. We feel fortunate to be able to offer this unique pair of Hina dolls to collectors that may be interested in such museum pieces.