Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kokeshi Dolls at Penang Museum

This exhibition has been going since 27th February 09 but only today I got the time to visit it. Its last day will be tomorrow, so.. who knows when we will have the opportunity to see these dolls from Japan again.

Hmm, almost the whole of first floor is dedicated to this show. Here you get the information about the dolls, history, the artisans, the process of making them.

There are 11 distinct regional variations of the dolls on top of many types of toys which are made out of wood in Japan. Then, these are divided into traditional style and also modern style.

I learned quite a lot from this exhibition. It is always a delight to see fine work of art.

Kokeshi dolls are wooden dolls which are created especially in the Northern Island of Honshu. They have been around since the Edo period. Modern version which are more complex are now created by Japanese artists as pieces of arts. The traditional wooden dolls are however very simple, streamlined and always depict a feminine feature, with just the head and the body.

The dolls have three basic shapes which tell you how the neck and the body are joined: either gooseneck jointed dolls, stub jointed dolls or one-piece doll.
These basic shapes of course have their regional variations too.

The dolls are always bought by visitors as reminders of their visit to the resort spa villages where they are made, in Northern Honshu. A simple art form which started as leisure activity by Kijiya (woodmakers) in Japan is now part of their rich Japanese heritage.

Visit Penang State Museum

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