A Japanese Tsuchi-Ningyo 土人形 or Folk Art Clay Doll of Yūrei 幽霊 the Samurai Ghosts, carefully handmade with clay, and cold painted by hand- or painted after firing then cooling. This Tsuchi-Ningyo represents the Samurai ghost according to my friend Hiroshi san in Japan. He is dressed in his kimono standing with his hands clenched, robed in an outfit of several colors showing the layers of his kimono and undergarments, the footwear, and belt; with his kimono decorated in gold stripes and small flowers. The Tsuchi-Ningyo dolls are very delicate, this one has held together very well. They show dirt easily, but can usually be damp cleaned just as easily. This one in particular represents the Samurai Ghost Yūrei 幽霊, a figure in Japanese folklore which is analogous to Western legends of ghosts. The Samurai ghosts were veterans of the Genpei War who fell in battle. This doll is large, standing a little over seven inches tall. Aside from needing a cleaning and showing the roughness of folk art on the bottom, he is in good condition with no cracks or chips. It is about 50 to 60 years old.
This folk art comes to us from a man who I have become friends with named Hiroshi, who lives in a small town called Miyagi, to which he was displaced along with many others after he and his wife lost their home in the tsunami . All of the profits for these folk art dolls go to the Miyagi school funds. As with all people around the world who have lost their life possessions and homes in natural disasters, the people of Japan suffered one of the worst disasters on record, and continue to rebuild and need support- even today.
SIZE: Height 7 .48" or 17.78 cm, Width 3.46" or 8.78 cm, Depth 3.14" or 7.97 cm. Weight 311 grams or 0.68 pounds
From the archives of the website at National-Louis University
The phrase tsuchi-ningyō simply points to the fact that the dolls are made of clay. Japan has a long tradition of clay figurines starting with the archaic dogū and haniwa, to those made in Fushimi, Hanamaki, Inuyama, Koga, Sagara, Tsutsumi, and at present, the brightly colored Hakata figures. National Louis University Archives has three different types of Japanese clay dolls. All of these, except for one, have wire inserted into the doll to help it stand. Of these wired dolls, several are large (about six inches in height) and the remaining are small. It is possible that these two different types are parts of the same set. The miniature clay figurines might be Keshi-ningyō, but more research is necessary. The one exception (the clay figure without wires) is possibly a Fushimi doll, but again more research is necessary to confirm this.
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