Kokeshi dolls are handcrafted wooden Japanese Kokeshi Japanese Theme toys initially enjoyed by children of peasant farmers in the Tohiku region of northern Japan. Kokeshi dolls originated during the Edo period (1600 to 1868). The dolls were commonly sold as good fortune Miyages (souvenirs) to visitors of the hot springs in the north-east regions of the country. Today Kokeshi dolls are popular with doll collectors and continue to provide souvenirs for tourists visiting the hot springs in Japan.
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Kokeshi dolls heads are painted by skillful artisans who define the facial features by using few, thin, simple lines. The doll bodies are generally painted using bright, contrasting colors of red, black, and yellow, then hand decorated with symbolic representations of nature including plants, vines, flowers, birds, animals, butterflies, clouds and other abstract, traditional or culturally significant designs.
Paper Kokeshi dolls and mask patterns are intended for parents and teachers who are more concerned with teaching children hands-on tangible crafts of all kinds in order to develop cognitive, reasoning skills, so they can actually discover the how's and why's of the way things work.
Traditional dolls have oversized heads, cylindrical bodies with no arms or legs. Creative Kokeshi dolls have a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Kokeshi dolls generally appear female in traditional kimono dress.
Sayonara dolls are popular variations of the Kokeshi doll but with a cylindrical body upon which a length of cloth or paper is attached upon which the sender can write letters and messages upon. The traditional material for the message is a scroll of Washi paper that wraps around the Sayonara doll to form a kimono.
Kids and adults color books & crafts. Children can print and color these paper kokeshi and sayonara doll patterns and share in print form with family and friends. These Kokeshi doll designs are also useful for embroidery patterns, needle point, scroll saw wood working, glass etching, silk screening and other personal and not-for-profit craft activities.
Fun, educational crafts for children and adults. The purpose of "Paper Kokeshi Dolls" is to provide an overview of Japanese Kokeshi doll art and culture in the hopes of piquing the interests of young children to learn more about Japanese wood doll arts, crafts and culture. Kokeshi style doll designs in this web site are whimsical, creative and not genuine or authentic Japanese artworks and are intended only for educational and entertainment purposes. Refer to the doll resources page for more information.