Edo Period ‘Robot’ Karakuri Puppets Get Exhibition in Yokohama

29.March.2021 | SPOT

Yokohama Takashimaya Gallery has announced an exhibition hosted by Tamaya Shobei IX, a master of traditional Karakuri puppets, which will run from April 21 to May 10.

Karakuri dolls are wooden mechanical dolls made in the image of humans with movable parts, such as the hands and legs which are fitted with special mechanisms. Each and every doll is handmade, and visitors can look forward to seeing around 40 of them at the exhibition, including newly-made ones.

 

Here are some of the pieces that will be on display at the exhibition.

 

Festival Float Karakuri Dolls

The culture of merchants in the Edo Period blossomed at float festivals. They crafted Karakuri dolls to be placed on floats. At the time, this was considered something very simple, but adding mechanisms to these dolls was the start of the Karakuri doll. A variety of these festival float dolls will be showcased, such as the Kamakiri mantis doll which was revived by the seventh generation Tamaya Shobei, as well as newer works from recent years like the Nue Japanese chimera (as pictured above).

 

Tatami Mat Karakuri Doll

Other famous dolls to be included in the exhibition are the chaun ningyo tea-serving doll, the koma-mawashi ningyo spinning top doll, the calligraphy doll, and more.

 

New Works

Also in the line-up are new works being created by Tamaya Shobei IX, like the revival of the Tsuru crane and another featuring a crow tengu.

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