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The Japanese doll referred to as "Gosho" references the Imperial Palace in Kyoto during the Edo (1603-1867) period. This Imperial- patronized doll is a uniquely Japanese form: a caricature of a cute, chubby baby that warms the heart and is both adorable and yet otherworldly at the same time.

Gosho-ningyo can be defined as plump baby figures with large heads, inflated round bodies and brilliant white skin. They were originally created by doll makers in the Kyoto area for the Imperial Household to be given as gifts to visiting emissaries, thus coining the name gosho meaning "from the Imperial Palace".

Gosho dolls evolved from the "naked saga" dolls or hadaka saga which portrayed children's naked forms. Saga dolls are elaborately beautiful carvings of wood, believed to have been created as a sideline by Buddhist sculptors. These figures evolved into the simplified smooth white baby sculptures carved of wood and covered in gofun, a crushed oyster shell paste, layered and burnished.

The court aristocracy and the imitative wealthy merchant class actively collected Gosho Ningyo. Thus, there remain extraordinary examples to be collected and appreciated of this art form for current enthusiasts. A great variety of Gosho imagery in numerous positions exists, usually accompanied by different symbols wishing the recipient good fortune.


Please click on images below for full descriptions and detail photographs
NH22032
Gosho Ningyo of a Young Noble Boy
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$9,500
NH22028
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$7,200
NG84010
Tachiko Gosho Ningyo
Edo period, Circa 1820
$6,400
NG84011
Kuge Tachiko Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, circa 1840
$5,200
NG84004
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$4,500
UG81008
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1850
$3,600
NG84006
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$3,000
NG75017
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1800
$2,800
NH12118
Ningyo of a Beagle Pup
Edo Period, Circa 1840
$2,500

NH00006
Gosho Ningyo of a Young Male
Circa 1900
$2,500

UG90016
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$2,200
NG84007
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$1,500
UH30011
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$1,100
UH20079
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1800
$650
NG84009
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$600
NG84008
Kofuku-no-inori Gosho Ningyo
Edo Period, Circa 1820
$550

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To purchase or for more information, please call 619/977-6717 or e-mail
asianart@lasieexotique.com
 

For reading about this subject , please go to our on-line article:
Arts of Asia July/Aug 1996: Gosho Ningyo - Palace Dolls from the Ayervais Collection

For further reading about
Japanese Ningyo, please go to our on-line articles :

Ningyo Journal Winter 2003,
Northern Japan Traditional Kokeshi, by Shirlee Funk
Circa 1989: Japanese Samurai Dolls, by Timothy Mertel
Arts of Asia, September/October 1986: Antique Japanese Festival Dolls, by Timothy Mertel
Daruma #17, Winter 1998: The Hina Matsuri - A Living Tradition, by Alan Pate
Daruma #14, Spring 1997: Musha Ningyo - Portrait of Boy's Day, by Alan Pate

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