Identifying Japanese Dolls: Notes on Ningyō

Front Cover
Hotei Pub., Jan 1, 2000 - Art - 142 pages
Lea Baten's unique and resourceful book assists in identifying the familiar and unfamiliar figurines known as ningyo, and explores the roots of the word itself: both meanings, "doll' and "human shape," are associated with play and ritual, life and death. These dolls are not necessarily just play-things with pretty faces, but range from mass-produced trivial toys to true art pieces and imposing ceremonial ornaments. Materials vary: they can be made from stone, clay, paper and wood; or brocade, ivory, pearl and lacquer. Many of the enormous variety of ningyo may be considered pieces of an unsolved puzzle that are in danger of disappearing without ever having been totally understood in the West. This book investigates the numerous meanings of the "human shape" in Japanese culture, from pre-history to the present, and explores the many, varied and subtle connotations ningyo have for the Japanese. This book not only identifies and describes ningyo, detailing their history and meaning, but also contains a comprehensive index and one of the most extensive bibliographies on the doll motif ever published in English. Scholarship, clear illustrations and a touch of humor guarantee a fresh and original approach to known and unknown ningyo.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Notes on ningyo 8

1 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

Lea Baten (?-2005), an international authority on the dolls, folk toys, and games of Japan, wrote three books and numerous articles on the subject, and contributed the section on Japanese ornamental dolls to the prestigious 34-volume Grove/Macmillan Dictionary of Art. She studied painting and art history at the Académie des Beaux Arts, Brussels, and was responsible for organising many remarkable exhibitions on various Asian and other arts during her 13-year tenure as vice-president of the Cultural Centre of the Abbey of Affligem, Belgium's oldest Benedictine Abbey.

Bibliographic information