Kyoto Yuusoku HiNa Doll Master


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About Kyo-Style dolls
First of all, Japanese dolls can be divided up primarily into two categories, [Hina] and
Hitogata].  Hina is written [雛] and has the meaning of baby bird. Since baby birds are small and adorable, small adorable replications of the human shape were called [Hina].  [Hitogata}, written [人形] means 'human shape'.  Hitogata dolls can also be called Katashiro (形代--'replacement shape'). These dolls were used as a replacement for the human body in ceremonial rites to avert disaster which included practices like floating the doll down the river.  Dolls first began being called 'ningyo' (written with the same characters as 'hitogata') in the Muromachi Era. In the Edo period, a new category of carved wooden dolls branched off from the traditional clothed dolls.  These dolls used techniques of applying gold and silver leaf and coloring with pigments. The development in Kyoto of the Nishijin style of woven cloth in the Edo era influenced the costumes of dolls.  Costumed dolls are represented today by Hina Ningyo (girls' dolls), Fuzoku Ningyo (posed dolls), and Warrior dolls. These categories of dolls are representative of the traditional culture of Japanese doll making to this day.

Kyoto dolls are called so because they are made according to traditional methods originating in Kyoto. Kyoto doll-making is accomplished through a division of labor, just as in other Kyoto based industries.  It is usually the case that a single factory completes only one part of the entire doll-making process.  For example, the doll's head, the attachment of the hair, the hands and feet, and the doll's accessories are all completed by specialist craftsmen.  The craftsman in charge of crafting the head is called Kashirashi (head crafting master) and specializes only in making the head.  And the artisan in charge of creating the clothing and putting the doll together and then dressing it is called Kisetsukeshi (costuming master) or Ningyoshi (doll crafting master). This is the category of craftsmen under which we fall. The head crafting master , hair attaching master, hand and foot craftsmen and accessory craftsmen are all specialists with expert skills, many boasting a history dating back to the Edo era, and their combined effort supports the industry of Kyoto doll-making to this day.

A quality doll is judged by the quality of the tailoring and the care with which the doll is dressed.  Showing off the beauty of the doll's features is also the role of the costuming master.  Superior dolls of high quality are particularly exemplary in Kyoto, and the reason for this can be found in the skills of craftsmen, polished over the years throughout a long history of doll-making. It is these skills which even to this day work to maintain ancieint traditions and furthermore keep the progress and development of Kyoto doll-making alive. It would surely not be going to far to say that Kyoto is the hometown of traditional doll-making.

kashirashi (head crafting master)
The entire face of the doll is called the kashira, or head. A powder called gofun is kneaded into a paste called fuuko and by completing a complicated process a calm and graceful expression is produced. The facial characteristics of the dolls will vary depending on the artisan.
kamistukeshi (haie attachment master)

Grooves for implanting the hair are carved, and then a black dyed thread is combed with a 'kushi'  while using an
electrically heated 'kote' (or old-fashioned iron) to straighten the thread.  Next, the various hairstyles are completed with the  use of a form made out of Japanese paper around which the hairstyle is formed with the aid of paste, 'kote', and 'kushi'.

Te-ashishi (hand and foot master)

The skeleton for the fingers is created by attaching five metal pins to the end of the wooden base of the arm or leg. A type of paste is made from a combination of powder shaved from seashells (gofun) and animal skin (nikawa), and painted onto the skeleton to create the overall shape. After that, the fingers are shaped by scraping and carving, details are added, and the grooves between fingers are filed down. Finally the nails are painted with a light pink accent.
Kodougushi (accessory master)

Hina ningyo dools in particular have a variety of accesories, including crowns, swords, ceremonial clubs, fans, bous and arrows, the drums of the goninbayashi, and flutes. All of these items sre made by hand.


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