Unique antique Japanese doll set of warrior dolls (musha ningyo) for the Japanese Boy's Day. 17 3/4 inches tall empress Jingo with her faithful minister, Takenouchi no Sukune, 12 inches tall holding prince Ojin (Oh-jin), the future 15th Japanese emperor who later became known as "The God of War".
Boy's Day in Japan was traditionally held among Samurai and aristocrat families in the Edo period. Samurai's armor along with their helmets were displayed and the nobori banners and spears were placed outside to celebrate the birth of the boys in the family. The date was chosen on the first day of summer when children were more susceptible to diseases because of changes in the weather.
This custom started to spread to the general population in the mid-Edo period with the increasing economic power of the merchants. Carps and other streamers were created to replace Samurai nobori banners (real banners used in the battlefields) for the general people. The class system was strictly observed by the Tokugawa government and any Samurai articles were prohibited to the general people for owning. The outside decorations started to move indoors by changing sizes and material. The paper made armors were made during this time and people started trying them on dolls.
The hero warrior dolls like this set were popular throughout the Meiji period (1868-1912) among the wealthy people. Circa, late Edo to early Meiji period.