National doll produced to represent a Japanese woman, it was made by Nishi & Co in Japan, circa 1970s-1980s and was given to Monica Gates. The doll is dressed in a kimono which is a t-shaped, straight-lined robe worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with an attached collar and long, wide sleeves. Kimonos are wrapped around the body, with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial), and secured by a sash called an obi, which is tied at the back. Once worn by women, men and children they are now most commonly worn by women for special or formal occasions. The gold brocade obi worn by this doll denotes that this costume would be worn for formal occasions.

The Gates collection contains 170 national dolls from 74 different countries and some correspondence relating to the acquisition of several of the dolls. The costumes of the dolls represent national costumes from the 19th Century to the 1990s. Monica Gates collected or was given these dolls between 1957 and 1990.

These dolls were purchased as souvenirs of particular countries and like many mass produced souvenirs they are often not accurate representations of a particular country or region, and may actually better reflect neighbouring counties or regions. This occurs because costumes are often stylised and simplified resulting dolls wearing generic costume elements which are common to many countries/regions. Often the fabrics and decorations used are selected to make the dolls cheap and easy to manufacture and aesthetically pleasing. This can result in the fabrics, colours and decorations of the doll's clothing having little or no reflection of the costume associated with a particular country or region they are meant to be representative of.

Physical Description

Doll, female, Japanese. Bisque head, hands and feet. Glass or plastic inset eyes, painted features. Black hair which hangs loose to shoulder with fringe at front and topped by flat circular hat trimmed with gold braid and tied on by long orange cord. Kimono predominantly red with large floral pattern and long flowing sleeves. Extra long gold brocade sleeve on right arm. Gold brocade obi tied at back with ends folded down. Doll holds a red hat in each hand. Bare feet are attached to low lacquered-look wood platform. Two blue labels are stuck to underside of stand.

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