Asian Tribal Art - Iki Ningyo Face, Japan

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Iki ningyo face
Paper mache, gofun, glass eyes, hair
8.5" (21.6 cm) high, 7" (17.8 cm) wide
Meiji Period 1868-1912

A rather grotesque example of iki-ningyō (living doll) 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.

This iki ningyo is in fair shape. There are cracks and possibly repairs on the surface, a ding on the nose and the hair may have been replaced.

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



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