The enchanting, gentle expression. "Hakata dolls," full of loveliness
One of the representative Fukuoka/Hakata's crafts would definitely be “Hakata dolls.” They possess countless beauties, such as the delicate shaping of the painted bisque, varicolored yet mellow coloring, as well as plump and well-liking expression. The origin of Hakata dolls is said to be a doll created by Masaki Soshichi, a brickmaker who took part in building Fukuoka Castle, as part of his hobby. The dolls came to be regarded as the ones representing Japan after entering Meiji era and were highly esteemed at international expositions such as Paris Universal Exposition. “Ningyo no Goto,” the number one specialty shop with a long history in Hakata, has many talented craftsmen under its wings. The dolls they produce are full of expression, and the elaborate design such as their clothes is also of the finest quality.
About genre and process
“Mai” (created by Kuniaki Takeyoshi) 41,040 yen (tax included, the same hereinafter). Height 35 cm. A stunning work with her alluring expression, feel of her kimono, and minuteness of coloring by gofun (whitewash).
Representative genres of Hakata dolls include beautiful women, kabuki actors, warriors, children, and good luck charms. As a process, craftsmen sculpt the prototype in clay and shape the original mold with plaster. Next, they press the clay against the plaster mold to form the body; after that, the body is sun-dried and baked. It goes without saying that proficient skills, time and effort are necessary for each process. Moreover, the mold can be reused for a limited number of times. It is quite clear that the workload of shaping a mold is heavy.
“Kagami-jishi” (created by Shuichi Kawasaki) 46,440 yen. Height 34 cm. Its highlights are the sculpture with a realistic touch and powerful liveliness.
“Miyabi-no-ne” (created by Takashi Miyake, work) 32,400 yen. Height 26 cm. A gentle smile of a noble child. The deep green pigment unique to rock paint also has a presence.
“When I came to Hakata, I came alone, but on my way home, I got a doll, which makes two of us.” Hakata doll is also sung in Seicho-Hakata-bushi (Hakata’s folk song). You will understand the essence of its lyrics if you just look at the dolls’ sweet and rich expression.
As for the product lineup, here is also an extraordinary product where they will create a Hakata doll modeled on your face, with the base of Kuroda warrior or white wedding kimono (216,000 yen). You can also find Hakata-style Hina dolls for Girl’s Festival and warrior dolls for Boy’s Festival, something interesting for those with kids. A room with a Hakata doll; it would surely be a pleasant space.