Many Ningyo are based on theatrical models - this example is a tableau doll grouping. Typically, characters from a Noh or Kabuki play are placed on a stage with a tree and other scenery, as this presentation shows. The lovely scene depicts the Japanese Emperor and Empress on a lacquered stage, complete with scenery. This captures all the pathos of Kabuki theater. The figures have gofun heads, hands and feet. The faces are delicately painted and have inset glass eyes. The 6” Empress has her perfect condition hair upswept and tied back with a ribbon. Her hair ornamentation is classic. She holds a delicate bronze and black colored hand painted paper fan on a tiny wood stick. The back of the fan has a painted round orange sun. She also holds a large paper cherry blossom which has fallen to her feet. Her authentic styled robes are layers of gold, orange and bronze made of silk brocade. The Emperor is just as richly dressed. His robes are comprised of gold, green, bronze-orange silk brocade layers. His top knot is carefully tied with thread and a bronze colored metal hat is delicately tied under his chin. A Tsutsumi drum sits beside him and fits perfectly in his hands when he choses to play the drum. The drum is held by the left hand to hold the drum to the right shoulder. The right hand is used to strike the drum. The drum's design perfectly replicates the traditional Tsutsumi drum.
The gofun faces are delicately painted and have brown inset glass eyes. The facial details are individualized, not just standard expressions. One cheek on the Emperor's face has a tight short hairline seen with magnification. Overall, the faces are in excellent condition with no other flaws seen. The gofun hands and well modeled feet are fully intact with no damage. The costumes are in excellent condition with no damage, wear or fading.
The setting also has an authentic appearing tree trunk with wire branches covered with large colorful paper cherry blossoms, all excellent. The paper foliage between the figures is designed as large plant with large colorful blossoms. The "stage" measures 10” x 3 3/4” x 1 1/4”. A painted gold design decorates its front. It is in excellent condition.
Screen: A beautiful hand painted paper covered screen is seen in the photo taken with the presentation shown inside the wood box. The removable screen’s upper portion is covered with perfect bronze and gold heavy paper. It is marked with two Japanese characters. The bottom portion is white with gold flecks. The back of the screen is covered with identical paper used for the upper portion of the screen. The condition is exceptional, especially considering its age.
The wood box is comprised of thin panels of wood with knots and natural rings showing growth. I don't know the type of tree from which the wood panels were made. The box was both glued together and also has extremely tiny wood pegs to assure a proper fit. The box is sturdy and all original. The front cover that slides into place has panels with one panel missing. There is no evidence of any glue having been used on the surfaces where the panel would have rested. Perhaps the opening was for a “preview.” I have no idea. SIZE: 11” x 8” x 4 3/4”. Please contact me if you have any questions. Domestic Shipping by USPS Priority Insured Mail is all inclusive with your purchase. International customers, please contact me for shipping information. Thanks for your visit and for taking time to learn more about this offering and view all of the photos.
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