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All Kokeshi dolls
All Kokeshi dolls

Kokeshi dolls
(こ け し) are typical traditional Japanese dolls originally from Tōhoku (東北, a region of the island of Honshu).
They are handmade from wood, worked and decorated by craftsmen who customize each of them giving it personality and its own meaning. The bottom is typically marked with the signature of the artist.
Kokeshi dolls  are considered valuable collector items and they are offered as a gift on special occasions and loved ones. Kokeshi dolls also  they are considered auspicious against bad luck.
 
Kokeshi dolls are characterized by a round head and a cylindrical body, without arms nor legs. It seems that the first were built by the end of Edo period (1603-1868) by artisans of wood as souvenirs for tourists visiting the thermal bath of Miyagi prefecture: Kokeshi dolls also inspired the Russian craftsmen to the realization of the "matryoshkas".
 
Even today, every year in September, craftsmen from all over Japan gather at the Museum in the Naruko thermal bath to join the competition for the most beautiful Kokeshi doll, awarded directly by the Prime Minister.

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