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 padding at the hem of the kimono suggests the doll maybe dressed in a Uchikake, a highly formal kimono worn only by a bride or at a stage performance, it is often heavily brocaded and is supposed to be worn outside the actual kimono and obi, and trail along the floor, which is why the hem is so heavily padded.

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

Female Japanese doll on stand, formed of unglazed porcelain with glass or plastic inset eyes, other features painted. Black hair pulled into bun over red padding at top and decorated with flowers and bow, the rest hangs loose to shoulders. Kimono predominantly orange with large floral pattern and long flowing sleeves. Gold brocade obi tied at back with ends folded down. Kimono is padded at hem. Bare feet are attached to low black lacquer-look stand.

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