Ningyo: The Art of the Japanese Doll features over 250 unique photographs as well as extensive commentary and background history.
Japanese dolls (ningyo
) have played an important role in Japanese art and culture since its earliest stages of development, as talismanic figures, centerpieces, in elaborate festivals, medical study tools, theater distractions, decorative objects, and avidly collected art forms, as well as childhood playthings. Ningyo: The Art of the Japanese Doll
is the most comprehensive book on antique Japanese dolls and figurines published in English. The book focuses on the many types of Japanese dolls:
gosho: palace dolls
hina: Girl's Day dolls
musha: warrior dolls for the Boy's Day Festival
isho: fashion dolls
The principle forms of the dolls and their history, stylistic development, cultural context, and economic imperatives are discussed against the backdrop of Edo-period society and popular culture. Beautifully detailed color photographs of ningyo
drawn from private collections, many of which are published here for the first time, as well as images of related materials selected from celebrated museums and temple collections, such as folding screens, woodblock prints, sculpture, painting ceramics, and textiles, help place the dolls in context. Ningyo: The Art of the Japanese Doll
is a fascinating book for anyone interested in Asian doll art and doll collecting.