okiboy novelties and collectibles

Paper Mache Dolls

紙の張り子 (Kami no hariko)


Hirako is the Japanese term for papier-mache whatever the form. Strips of paper soaked in a rice paste solution are laid atop one another to fashion simple dolls, an exotic range from tiny to gigantic. Some hiroko use moulds into which are pressured paste-dampened paper stips but most are freely built. A practiced hand knows just how much and where to put each ready strip of moistened paper. Pinched into shape by agile fingers, the damp form is sun-dried before decorative painting is done. Simple forms take on added dimensions when the lines of a kimono are added and even the simple white band indicating a fundoshi (loincloth) helps to make the doll more real. What realy give each doll 'life' is the bobbing head which has been fashioned separately and is attached to the main body via a single string. In mobile style, head bob and twist with the lightest of stir of air currents. A perfectly stationary doll that suddenly moves must activate the awe of any child even in these days of battery-run toys. But then, these simple dolls hark back to a time when there were no batteries and even the simple clock spring key would toy of the late 19th century had yet to be invented. See Amaury Saint-Gilles. "Mingei: Japan's Enduring Folk Arts". Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo (1990). p 37.

Japanese Hariko Paper Mache Zodiac Blessing Rooster 7" Bobblehead Doll
4.5" Japanese Paper Mache Doll: Goose-Neck Tiger



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