Hand-Made Doll—Princess Wearing Red Formal Kimono
About this Doll
This one-of-a-kind hand-made doll is wearing an uchikake, a highly formal kimono. Traditionally, these are worn only by brides or stage performers. Uchikake are often heavily brocaded and worn outside the actual kimono and obi (sash) as a sort of coat.
The color red is popular in Japan. Many shrines and temples are red. Since time immemorial the color red was seen as a way to scare away evil spirits. In old times Shinto priests were dressed in red, and now red aprons and caps often cover the sculptures of Bodhisattva and spirits. During Shinto festivals, tables covered with red cloths and red carpets are used.
Red is also the color of festivals and festival zones are marked by curtains with red and white stripes. The symbolic meaning of red is peace and the prosperity of the family. In Kabuki theater performances, red stripes on the actors’ faces means justice.
About the Artist
Shiko Sekihara is a master dollmaker based in Kyoto, Japan, known for hand-making dolls so exquisite that they seem to have a life of their own. Her main subjects are the beautiful female figures of Kabuki dancers and other characters.
She spent many years learning from her father, a grandmaster dollmaker, other celebrated artisans from Kyoto, and studying from many sources. Often, her dolls are born from the images that come down to her consciousness from a state of nothingness.
"Guided by many connections, a light suddenly shines in my heart, which eventually becomes words and a clear image appears in my consciousness. However, it is not easy to give shape to the figure. After many months of agony and repeated failures, the way is opened to the form that I have envisioned.
In the final moments of the doll's completion, I am enveloped in a blissful moment when the light guides me and my hands move of their own accord to create the doll. To create a doll is a calling."
About Sekihara DollsShiko Sekihara has been creating dolls with Kyoto's traditional craftsmanship, such as dyeing, gilding, yuzen, embroidery, shibori, carving, metalwork, tortoiseshell, lacquer, woodworking, fans, and hair ties.
Each kimono shape, pattern, and layering has a traditional meaning that has been accumulated over thousands of years, and dolls are born from a combination of craft techniques and the beauty of the heart that comes from tradition.
Vendor: Koto Kyoto