Nancy's Kokeshi Page
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Nancy's Kokeshi Page

I collect Kokeshi Dolls. Kokeshi Dolls are wooden dolls made in the northern region of Japan. It is believed that they originated late in the Edo period (ca. 1800-1830) There are different types of Kokeshi Dolls. One type is called "Traditional". They have long cylinder shaped bodies with round heads. I just starting collecting "Traditional" Kokeshi. The majority of my collection are called "Vintage" Kokeshi. They usually have a round- shaped body with a round head. They were made during the 1950's and 1960's for tourists to bring back as souvenirs, from their visit to Japan. Kokeshi dolls are the most popular of all Japanese Folkcraft. Originally a Folk toy for children, they are now a traditional Art work. Today, there are two types of Kokeshi Dolls that are being produced. They are "Creative" and "Traditional". "Creative" Kokeshi are more modern or contemporary looking and developed later, in Kokeshi history. They give the artist free reign to use whatever style or shape they choose. "Traditional" Kokeshi dolls are still made today by Kokeshi Artists called Kiji-Shi,(which means woodworker in Japanese) who have been making these handcrafted dolls for generations. The art is passed down from master to apprentices. Kokeshi shapes and pattern vary depending on where they were made, but are specific to each strain. These are trademarks. You can tell exactly where the Kokeshi came from, by their special markings. If you click on "Traditional Kokeshi Dolls" under my Favorite Links, you'll see an example of five of the ten strains of "Traditional" Kokeshi.

How It All Started
When I was young, my father used to bring home Japanese trinkets for me, from a Japanese restaurant near his work. One of them was a Kokeshi Doll nesting family. I wish I still had them. Over the years I looked and looked because I wanted to buy more, but couldn't find dolls like those anywhere. Four years ago my children bought me a computer. I looked up Japanese nesting dolls on the internet and found out they were called Kokeshi. The rest is history. I spend 90% of my computer time looking at Kokeshi dolls and anything to do with Japan. Japan is so beautiful and their culture intrigues me. Now, thanks to eBay I have a beautiful collection of Kokeshi and other oriental dolls, including Geisha.

A beautiful picture of Mt. Fuji in the Fall

Updated Pictures of My Collection 12-26-2003

If you would like to contact me click Here

I'm in the process of adding a Gallery Page with more detailed pictures of my dolls, and a place for other collectors to share photos of their collection. If you would like me to add pictures of your dolls, please let me know. Thanks!!

August 24, 2005

I haven't updated for awhile, but was very excited about a doll I just bought and wanted to share it with you. It is a nesting (the little dolls are stored inside) Ejiko Kokeshi doll handcrafted by the artist Mito Hiroshi (Y.O.B. 1933). I've seen his dolls before and always loved the cute expression on their faces. Every one of his dolls has the same adorable face. I'm not sure if you can see in the picture - but the doll has a big smile. (99% of Traditional Kokeshi have serious expressions and tiny mouths) He is my favorite Kokeshi artist. He is famous for using the Zelkova Tree for his dolls. It is a high quality, beautifully colored wood. I was told that this doll is rare - even the babies are signed by the artist. The detail on these tiny dolls is amazing. I was so happy to find this cutie!

I found this info on the internet about Ejiko Kokeshi:

EJIKO: Japanese farmers used to put their babies inside a kind of basket and take him/her in this basket to the field while they are working. This kokeshi doll is a representation of a baby in a basket. This style developed into a whole new type of Kokeshi, became a unique style of its own, and is now called EJIKO Kokeshi. Some Ejiko are hollow; carved inside with the upper part of the doll (from neck up) serving as a lid. These are Ejiko that can also be used as containers. Any artist crafting Kokeshi from any family of Kokeshi can make Ejiko Kokeshi. The doll will still carry the artist's characteristics of design, and particularly the face of the doll will be the same as his/her regular shaped dolls.

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Favorite Links

Traditional Kokeshi Dolls
Antique Japanese Dolls
J.A.D.E.(Ningyo Dolls)
Mount Fuji 9 (Live Cam)

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