Japanese Craft : Wood Sculpture Doll

Kamo Ningyo (Yanagi Ningyo) are cheerful short and squat willow dolls. Kyoto National Museum states that they were quite tiny - less than 3" tall. They are typically between 5 and 7 cm but some dolls are less than 1 cm (3/8") tall! Cloth was glued to the unfinished wood, which was shaped to represent the clothing. From J.A.D.E.'s "Japanese Doll Terminology" we find that Takashi Tadashige, a priest at the Kamo-gami shrine, is credited with creating the first kamo doll in the mid-18th century. He carved his dolls from scraps of willow wood and glued on scraps of cloth, carving grooves to tuck in the raw edges of the material since he did not know how to sew.

Kokeshi are simple, turned, traditional wood dolls treasured by generations of Japanese people and are still being made by Japanese craftsmen today. Kokeshi are perhaps one of the most popular little souvenirs of any trip to Japan