Kokeshi Dolls – Creative & Traditional

It didn’t take me long to discover that there are two kinds of Kokeshi: Creative and Traditional.

But it took a while and a bit of a learning curve to discover that Traditional was itself divided into many different styles.

This post isn’t to give you a long PhD dissertation on Kokeshi, ☺ but to give you a quick overview with a few examples so that you can at least tell the difference between the two major styles.

Take a look at the two traditional examples here

Traditional kokeshi doll

Traditional Kokeshi

The most noticeable differences between the two are the shape of the shoulders, the shape of the eyes (the one on the left has a single top eyelid, the one on the right has both  top and bottom eyelids), and the comparative size of the head to the body. Another difference is the oval shape of the body on the right compared to the concave body shape on the left.

Why they are different, is because of geography. In different areas of the country, the craftsmen follow the same ‘styles’ generation after generation, often in the same family even http://cialisviagras.com/female-cialis/. To the best of my knowledge, and I’m no expert, there are about a dozen different ‘traditional’ designs within the traditional style. And the different markers I have mentioned (and a few more like hairstyles and decorative flower design) are how you can identify which area the traditional Kokeshi doll came from.

Here are a some Creative Kokeshi:

Kokeshi dolls

Creative Kokeshi dolls

Here the craftsmen (perhaps even the same ones who have made the traditional Kokeshi above) have departed from the traditional patterns. There is alot more freedom in colors – they are not locked into the red, green and black and the artisans have gotten a lot more creative with the kimono designs.

But what all Kokeshi have in common, is that they are wood, turned on a lathe, and in my eyes, very beautiful dolls!

Kokeshi Dolls & Their Kimonos

Kokeshi dolls

Compare the picture of the young woman wearing her kimono below to the painted kimonos on the Kokeshi dolls. On the doll 2nd from the left the doll is holding up her ‘sleeves,’ on three of the dolls the layered effect at the neck is represented as well.

From the first time I saw a Kokeshi doll on Ebay, I have been madly in love with them. As I own a doll store, you would think I would fall in love with the dolls I sell right? But somehow it didn’t turn out that way. I fell in love with Kokeshi dolls instead. Go figure.

There are a lot of reasons I like collecting Kokeshi itspharmacy.net… they’re pretty readily available, there are several different styles to choose from, they have a well defined history, and they are reasonably priced for a collectible doll, with most selling around $30. And unlike some collectibles which are too delicate to be handled, Kokeshi can be handled, there is a heft to the wood, the smoothness of the paint and lacquer, the textures of the carvings.

A  Japanese woman wearing her Coming of Age Day kimono

A Japanese women’s Coming of Age Day kimono

But mostly I like the kimonos. What makes Kokeshi dolls different, one from the other, is their kimonos. The Japanese kimonos that women wear for certain special days like weddings or Coming of Age Day are works of art. And the craftsmen who paint and carve the kimonos onto Kokeshi dolls are trying to reproduce that sense of “Kimono as Art” onto their dolls.

For me, that’s what makes them special.