Gosho ningyo are dolls in the form of cute chubby children
with very white skin, small limbs and big heads with sweet facial features.
Their history goes back more than 400 years and, while being favorites at
Court, they gradually emerged as high quality dolls believed to bring good
luck. The name gosho ningyo, referring to the
connection with the Court, became universal at the end of the Meiji Era. In the
Edo Era, they were known by various names such as shiragiku (white
chrysanthemum) and shirajishi (white skin), because of their form and the
whiteness of their skin, and as hairyou ningyo (bestowed dolls), Ouchi dolls
and o-miyage ningyo (souvenir dolls), because of their role as Court gifts to
the Daimyo who had visited to Kyoto. Also, in Kansai, there were dolls known as
Izukura dolls, named after a doll maker called Izukura.