Kimekomi Ningyo dolls (木目込人形)

Kimekomi ningyo is a type of wooden doll.

To make a kimekomi ningyo, first, thin lines are carved to represent wrinkles and patterns on the doll body which is made of wood or toso (made from the mixture of sawdust of paulownia wood and wheat starch or other sticky materials. Then pieces of fabric are tucked into the carved grooves using an eyelet to make the doll look like it is wearing clothes.

The name 'kimekomi' came from the Japanese verb that describes the action of squeezing a piece of fabric into the wood grooves, 'kimekomu,' which can be written with different Chinese characters to give different meaning, 'determined.'

Some dolls are made all from toso; other dolls are made by inserting a head, which was made separately, into the completed torso. When the head is made separately, eyes are often drawn rather than inserting glass eyes.

It is considered that kimekomi doll originated when Tadashige TAKAHASHI, an odd-job man who was working for Kamigamo-jinja Shrine, Kyoto Prefecture, started making dolls using fabric tucked into a pieces of wood.

Besides human-shaped dolls, such as hina dolls (dolls displayed for the Girl's Festival) or shichifukujin (Seven Deities of Good Fortune), there are Chinese zodiac ornaments and ornamental temari (a ball of cotton wound tightly around with threads of many colors).

Kamo dolls
Also called Kamogawa dolls. Dolls made by Hiroshige TAKAHASHI and his descendants. There are only a few remaining. They are characterized by the small size, from 3cm to 10cm. All parts of the doll are made of willow and other types of wood, having complexions similar to real humans.

Mataro dolls. Edo Kimekomi dolls. Kimekomi dolls were introduced to Edo during the Shotoku era, and some improvements were made to them. Edo Kimekomi dolls are characterized by having a slimmer body and smaller eyes and nose compared with kimekomi dolls of Kyoto. The head is made of toso or unglazed pottery.

[Original Japanese]