Three Jokan Dolls are part of a Hina doll set for the Japanese Girl's Day. They are to serve the Emperor and Empress with drinks and food. The young and pretty are usually choosen for this role. Many sets have one older married woman sitting in the middle, possibly a supervising figure? Her hair is usually done in a less attractive manner and she often has her teeth blackened. It was the sign of being a married woman at the time. Here, one of the dolls has a black line across her teeth. Their face and hands are covered with shiny gofun (crushed oyster shell and paste), no cracks or hair lines on their face, all the ears have little shape (often indicates an older doll) and all the dolls show the hair band like paper strips along the hairline. This paper may or may not be the original but the twisted paper was used to fill the grooves to hold hair. Some cloth damage on the the back of the white silk. Their hakama trousers are made out of Chirimen crepe silk.
Rare find and very well preserved for the age. 7 and 1/4 inches tall. Circa, late Edo to early Meiji (1800s).