04 March 2013

{ FOUND } Meiji Era Handmade Treasures

March 3 is the traditional Day of the Doll Festival in Japan, where treasured dolls of historical significance are put on display and honored.

This pair of Meiji era Emperor and Empress dolls dating from about 1868 were made in the far provinces of Japan.. probably Shimune prefecture where dolls were made from Washi paper and wood.. unlike the city of Kyoto where dolls were made from fine silks and bisque... all completely hand made..utterly charming, their faces are placid and happy always...

The lovely pair stand tall at about 17" each... and still have their original packing boxes .. they are very fragile and I have adored them since I bought them for my antiques shop in 1998 (I was always a little relieved when interested parties ended up not buying them!) 

The last time I was antiquing in Paris I spied a very similar pair at an upscale antiques shop near the Louvre and had to look twice. I rarely see these and I find them captivating. I love their slightly rustic, ephemeral quality... very wabi sabi... imperfectly perfect.

Yesterday my talented young neighbor Katie Felong and I photographed the dolls .. thought you might enjoy seeing them now.


What do you think of these gorgeous dolls? 
Would you display them in your decor?
I have used them for events, have integrated 
them into my home, and now they are
carefully packed away.


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  1. Hello Kit! Really beautiful dolls! I wish you a lovely week full of inspiration! With love, Geli

    1. Thank you Geli! have a wonderful week too xox Kit

  2. Pack away these wonderful dolls ...nononono...never.
    I'm sure you will find a place where they can unfold
    their beauty. Are they antique and where did you find it? Never seen before even not on my travels to China.

    1. I found them in one of those big old antiques emporia with a hundred dealers here in San Francisco... I was completely captivated with them and had never seen them before either... until I spotted the almost identical pair in a very chic Parisian shop near the Louvre/Druout... I will probably be placing them for sale in the near future...

    2. Whenever you decide to give one of them away, please let me know but I would not do it if I were you. Meanwhile enjoy these beautiful dolls.

  3. These dolls are beautiful! I would not ever part with them...love the wire and beadwork....

  4. Kit these are so lovely, the exquisite detailing of each doll is astounding. I love their expressions and would absolutely display them!

    Love and Hugs

    Art by Karena

  5. I'm echoing those above. These dolls are exquisite! I find that the fact they are made of paper and wood is all the more intriguing. If I had a spot, they would definitely be on display in my home. I wouldn't part with them. I have some small dolls made from paper that I purchased in Japan in the 80s. They are small and very simple, nothing like the glamour that these two exhibit. Thank you for sharing these beautiful.

  6. Just had lunch with a woman who had lived in Japan in the 80's. I lived there in the 70's + they are so beautiful. Who knew about doll day in Japan? xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  7. Those dolls are gorgeous!
    Have a nice Friday.

  8. These are delightful! I love the detail, especially in the headdresses.

    <3 Melissa


I would love to hear what you think! merci!


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