MIYAGI Dento Kokeshi (Wooden Dolls)
Miyagi Kokeshi dolls are thought to have first been produced in the middle of the Edo era (1600-1868) to sell to travelers visiting the local hot springs. Today, five kinds of traditional dolls are produced, namely, naruko kokeshi, sakunami kokeshi, toogatta kokeshi, yajiro kokeshi and hijiori kokeshi.
Handcrafted by artisans working in mountain villages, these highly appealing dolls comprising only a head and body have a charm and beauty all their own.
Miyagi kokeshi dolls have a simple yet beautiful form that consists of only a head and body. Their sweet, innocent expression reflects the spirit of the artisans who produce them in mountain villages surrounded by the vastness of nature.
How to make
First, the bark is peeled and the wood is dried for 6 to 12 months. Then, the wood is cut to the appropriate size and turned on a lathe to carve the body and head. Next, the pieces are smoothed with sandpaper or scouring rush and the designs for the head and body are painted onto the corresponding pieces. Finally, the head is attached to the body by tapping it with a hammer.