These dolls are a part of the Hina doll set displayed for the Japanese Girls Day, Hina Matsuri (Festival) in March. The day is also called Peach Festival. When the peach blossoms open in February to March by breaking through the snow, it is an announcement of the beginning of spring in Japan. The blossoms are very much associated with women’s strength and for this reason, along with their beauty, daintiness and softness, these are all desirable characters for women.
These three Kanjyo are placed on the second step of the Hina set, after the imperial couples. Their job in the Heian (794-1160) court is to serve sake to the Emperor and Empress.
Their faces are covered with crushed shell (gofun), enamel eyes and carved wooden hands on their straw filled bodies. One of the dolls is missing her thumb which is not visible because of the location (Enlargement 3); the white streak showing in the back of hair in one doll is a color loss. Other than that they are in beautiful condition - pictures showing the off-white kimonos seem newer than they actual are. The standing dolls are 6" toll and all the placed on 1 1/8" black lacquer stands (see enlargement 4). Circa, late Meiji, early 1900s.