Beautiful antique Hina Ningyo Empress doll with elaborate costume, platform and base. The doll has a wooden head with gofun. Gofun is a traditional Japanese composite material made of finely ground oyster shells. It is delicately carved and polished. The doll has a many layered costume made of paper and silk fabrics. She sits on two pillows (seen from the back) and wears an elaborate headdress representing the sun. The style of dress and design of the piece dates her to the Meiji period.
The doll os presented on two platforms. The bottom is painted wood, the upper is also wood, covered in silk and silk brocade. The doll figure measures about 3" high and 5" across, not including her head dress. When the platforms are included, the figure is about 5 3/4" high and 6 1/4" across.
Condition is very good, considering the age. The clothing is faded and a bit dusty. There is a small amount of gold cord embroidery missing from one side of her robe. The gofun is slightly flaked at the hairline and the headdress or sun is askew. The headdress is brass and a bit bent, but all of the tiny beads at the side are there. The face is beautifully and delicately carved. The two little dots on her forehead symbolize highest nobility. The lower platform shows some wear and paint chips at the corners, and the thin silk at the sides and top of the upper platform is worn, though the heavier brocade is in good condition.
Hina dolls are the dolls for Hinamatsuri, the doll festival on March 3. The classic hina doll has a pyramidal body of elaborate clothing, a head of carved wood covered with gofun, and human or silk hair. A full set comprises at least 15 dolls, representing specific characters, the Emperor and Empress being the most important characters.
This doll was acquired in the 1940's. These dolls were made by specialized artisans and often commissioned by well-to-do Japanese families. The set would have been displayed on Hinamatsuri, and passed down within the family. Some of these heirloom dolls were sold during the difficult economic times surrounding WWII.
This doll is very light in weight, but will be double packed to avoid damages.