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Handmade Ejiko Kokeshi Dolls and toys

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Some vintage wooden Kokeshi dolls and boxes were found by Susan on a recent trip to Japan. 
They are all made of wood and all of them are signed on the bottom or on the side by the artist who made them. 

This newest collection is of fabulous toys and boxes, known as Ejiko. Some with smaller dolls, or spinning tops inside them. They are listed by the artisan that made them. These have been sent from Tokyo.

Made in Japan. Handmade items are not returnable.

Approx Measurements and description: (all of the pieces are signed on the bottom by their artisan maker)

1. Arakawa Yoichi. One solid, charming piece. 11cm height x 8.5cm width

3. Sato Kazuo.10.5cm height x 7cm width. Beautiful and unique pieces. A box where the ‘garment’ on the lid has a smocked fabric look. When you open the box, there are three toys inside; a mini Kokeshi doll, Daruma, and a spinning top. 

4. Oonuma Hideaki. An amazing little box that is filled with seven tiny Kokeshi dolls. 11cm height x 8.5 cm width (7 pieces plus the beautiful box)

5. Kobayashi Shigeo. 9cm height x 8 cm width Lovely box with lids that come off. There is wonderfully carved wood detailing and painted decorations. 

6. Kobayashi Shigeo. 9cm height x 8 cm width Another lovely box from Kobayashi Shigeo. The lid comes off. Beautiful details in the carved wood.

7. Hoshi Sadayoshi. Amazing tiny piece! A very small Kokeshi box that opens up to reveal 5 carved and painted toy fruit spinning tops.  4.5cm height x 4.5 cm width 

Kokeshi "Ejiko" The 'ejiko' baby kokeshi represents the traditional baby baskets of northern Japan. This is how field workers took their babies to work with them,by placing them in baskets near them as they worked. 

The Ejiko’s origin is derived from a folk toy that is called an Izume.ko Doll, (Izume.Ko means “Isume baby” in the Yamagata dialect) that dates from the early 1910s and which comes from Tsuruoka, of the Yamagata prefecture. 

The toy is based on an Isume, a woven basket container that was traditionally used to keep the rice warm, but in the Tsuruoka area, farmers would keep their babies in the baskets during the busy season. This allowed them to watch the little ones while they worked the fields. Small toys would be placed in the basket along with the baby, comforting the baby and easing the mother’s mind throughout the day.

The earliest versions of the Izume.ko doll were either an acorn shell, which was stuffed with a tiny doll, or a small version of the woven basket that contained a baby covered in a small piece of cotton. Tiny toys were then tied to the edge of the basket. Out of these prototypes arose the Ejiko doll, which has its beginnings in the 1920s.

All Ejiko follow the same basic short, rotund style. However, some are hollowed out, with a separate, upper part of the body, (neck and head), also serving as the cover, or lid (these are called Obunko). The body would then be filled with miniature Kokeshi dolls, or with other small toys such as spinning tops, (koma). Any member of a Kokeshi-making family can make an Ejiko doll, and the doll will still retain the artist’s characteristics of design as applied to the standard, traditional Kokeshi made by the family.

Kokeshi dolls are Japanese wooden dolls traditionally made for children. It is said that Kokeshi were originally sold to visitors to hot springs in the Tohoku region of Japan during the late Edo period (1600-1868). "kokeshi" is derived from wooden (? ki, ko) or small (? ko), and dolls (?? keshi).
The ones at Loop are probably from the 1950's and 60's. 
They are so beautiful. 
Each one is unique. 

Kokeshi dolls can be ornamental and some people use the tops of them for darning.We just think they are very beautiful.