Kokeshi – Innocent or guilty?

Tuesday 08th, November 2016 / 09:00 Written by
Kokeshi – Innocent or guilty?

The photo shows kokeshi dolls by Lucie Kaas, Denmark, sold at Isabel Harris in New Market.

Kokeshi is a type of traditional Japanese doll, made from wood. Unlike other Japanese dolls, it is strikingly simple, with a round head attached to cylindrical body.

They are cute and pop, make good souvenirs, hence this modern day popularity. But its innocent look may hide the other dark side to its history.

The name ko-keshi can be interpreted as child-erase. Some believe that the doll was a screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-10-40-56-amsubstitute for dead children, either by miscarriage or by infanticide. Guilty mothers might have displayed the doll, praying for the soul of the lost child.

Others think this ominous association is just over-interpretation, and that its function is to wish for the health of children.  Whatever the reason of its origin, its adorable shape is now cherished as an art around the world.

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