Wednesday, September 20, 2006

For the love of Alfred Shaheen! Snap up this rare Shaheen kokeshi doll print skirt available at With a 23 inch waist it is super small, but $75 is a good price for this highly collectable signed print. The site's left click function was disabled, so I wasn't able to copy a photo of the entire skirt, which includes a spray of red and orange cherry blossoms at the top.

The kokeshi doll with the toy dog absolutely slays me. When toys have toys, well, that's uber-cute.

A quick web search yielded some interesting info. While everyone is familiar with the simple, limbless, wooden stick-like dolls often sold as souvenirs in Japan, there doesn't seem to be a consensus on their original meaning or use. Created on hand-powered lathes, the dolls made their first appearance as tourist souvenirs for wealthy visitors to onsen (natural hot springs) during the Edo period (1603-1867). So perhaps this is a souvenir print, or a crypto-souvenir print.

Because of their material and shape, many have surmised that kokeshi were originally used as massage tools by spa visitors. It doesn't seem farfetched to relate the dolls to fertility hopes. However, since kokeshi traditionally depict female children, they don't really represent the heir and a spare that a noble woman was supposed to produce. Some have suggested that the dolls were gifts to represent children or people who had died. Why only females then?

Another totally unsubstantiated source posts that the etymology of the word contains the signifigance. Not knowing Japanese, I'm at a disadvantage on this one, but this site
claims that ko=child and keshi=erasing. This makes me wonder if these dolls weren't talismans against conception. Hmmm?


Post a Comment

<< Home