The “opening of the eyes,” when the doll’s eyes are drawn, is the moment that life is breathed into the gosho ningyo. The eyebrows are carefully drawn one soft hair at a time, and vermillion is rubbed on the lips. Amid the formalized manufacturing process, very interesting facial expressions arise as the craftsperson talks to what they can see. The facial features, drawn finely with delicate lines on a round face, are reminiscent of the children depicted in Heian scrolls in the Yinmugoubi style. Thus, the perception of the beauty of children in ancient Japan is passed on.


  • Title: Painting eyes of gosho ningyo
  • Creator: Shimada Koen, Photo: Kureya Nao
  • Location: Gosho-Ningyo Shimada Koen
  • Subject Keywords: Palace dolls, Kyoto
  • Rights: © Shimada Koen

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