A Toy from the Nanbu Region
During the era of the Nambu clan, archery on horseback was practiced inside the confines of the “Kushibiki Hachiman-gu”, the main shrine of the Nambu region. During these occasions, the strongest horses in the region were given to the shrine as an offering. The “Yawata” horses were based on these offerings, and during the Kushibiki Hachiman Shrine Festival, these wooden horses were sold in the shrine, and this practice continues to this day.
One of Japan’s Three Traditional Horse Folk Toys
The body is painted brightly in white, red, and black, which create the basic color scheme for the horses. In the past, brides were carried to their husband’s house on horseback, which is portrayed by the saddle on the “yawata” horse’s back. The “yawata” represents one of Japan’s three traditional horses.
Made by Hand, Step by Step
The process of creating “Yawata” horses is still a step-by-step process done by hand. First the rough shape of the horse is cut from squared timber, then shaped with a chisel.
Finishing Touches by Beveling
After chiseling, the finishing touches are done with a small knife for beveling.
“Yawata” horses before coloring.
Body is Black and Red
The “Yawata” horses are painted vibrantly with black, red, and white as base colors.
Drawing the Design
The horses are painted to represent the elegant costumes worn in the past when brides would ride to join their husbands' families.
Pastel Yawata Horses
Originally the design of the “Yawata” horses was skillfully portrayed using red, black, and white, but recently versions with pastel colors painted over a white base are being created.
By:Aomori Prefecture
Credits: Story

Aomori Prefecture

Credits: All media
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