Monday, September 17, 2007
Kokeshi is a traditional Japanese doll usually representing a woman or girl. Made from wood, they are originally believed to be created for tourists visiting hot springs in the Tohoku region of North Eastern Japan. There are two types of Kokeshi, 'Traditional' (Dento) and 'Creative' (Shingata).
'Traditional Kokeshi' production has been handed down from teacher to pupil, during the Edo period (1603-1868) to the present day. A set technique in creation and painting style sets itself apart from the 'Creative Kokeshi' which is based on the artist's creativity, these are one-of-a-kind pieces inspired more from the imagination than tradition. Creative Kokeshi become popular after WWII.
Here's a short video from www.japanese-doll.biz that shows how a 'Traditional Kokeshi' is made:
Wikipedia has a brief summary about the history of Kokeshi and you can find more information from Japan Atlas. Wahooya.com sells a wide variety at their online store (I have never purchased from Wahooya so I cannot guarantee the service they provide) and Ebay is a great place to find all types of styles in every price imaginable.