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Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo

Hardcover - 15 April 2008
ISBN-13 : 9784805309223
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The fascinating world of Japanese doll collecting

For centuries, Japanese doll artisans created spectacular works of art, invested with both significant cultural meaning and elemental beauty, encased in the deceptively simple body of a doll.

Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo, is a cornucopia of information for Japanese art collectors, Asian doll collectors and doll enthusiasts of all levels and interests. Full of beautiful photographs, the book details 18 kinds of widely collected, obtainable and affordable, antique and vintage dolls and figurines (ningyo).

Author Alan Scott Pate--the leading American expert on Japanese dolls--writes in illuminating detail about the traditions of each type of doll and shares practical tips on how to collect this amazing Japanese art form. Included are:

  • Festival dolls hina-ningyo, musha-ningyo, tableau dolls
  • Display dolls saga-ningyo, gosho-ningyo, isho-ningyo, iki-ningyo
  • Wood dolls kamo-ningyo, nara-ningyo, kokeshi-ningyo
  • Clay dolls fushimi-ningyo, hakata-ningyo
  • Mechanical dolls karakuri-ningyo, kobe-ningyo
  • Theatrical dolls bunraku-ningyo, takeda-ningyo
  • Play dolls ichimatsu-ningyo, keue saiko

Customer Reviews

1 customer reviews Between 4−5 stars rating, 11 September 2014
By: Haiku Girl

This hefty but beautiful book is not only wonderful to look at, it’s a fascinating reference tool as well. Separated into three main sections (‘The Great Tradition’, ‘Types of Japanese Dolls’, and ‘How to Collect Japanese Dolls’) and numerous sub-sections, everything seems to be covered. The focus of the book is on collecting Japanese dolls, with information about where to find them and how to care for them, but there is also a vast amount of background and historical information about the different kinds of dolls that can be found in Japan.

The author tells us that “ningyō were first introduced to the Western art world as... See More

part of the Japonisme movement of the late 1800s”. Since then, all manner of Japanese dolls have been collected, and the West remains intrigues by these foreign objects.

Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyō does an excellent job of illustrating all of the common types of Japanese dolls one might encounter both in Japan and in antique shops, as well as various kinds of dolls which are less common. For me, the most interesting section of this book has to be the chapter on kokeshi-ningyō (こけし). Whilst I am curious about other kinds of Japanese dolls, it’s kokeshi that have always held my attention, and it’s kokeshi that I adore enough to collect myself.

Whether you are a collector yourself or simply a Japanese culture enthusiast, this book is sure to spark your curiosity. It’s a book I’m immensely happy to have in my collection, and I know I will be referring to it often!

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