Asian Tribal Art - Iki Ningyo Face, Japan

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Iki ningyo face
Paper mache, gofun, glass eyes, hair
5" (12 cm) high, 4" (10 cm) wide
Meiji Period 1868-1912

A small, emotionally complex example of iki-ningyō (living doll) face from Japan. This was a cultural phenomenon in the evolution of doll-making in Japan that began in 1852 with an exhibition in Osaka by Ōe Chūbei, the Jeff Koons of his time. Eventually, life-sized, highly dramatic and super-realistic figures in scenes from mythology gave way to pieces that were created for the export market as souvenirs of Japanese culture. These pieces are highly collectible and increasingly hard to find in the art market. 

Please reference: Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo by Alan Scott Pate, 2008, pp. 142-153.



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