Kimiko Muraoka Koyanagi
"White and Blue Doll" 1998
Mixed Media- Raw Silk Hair with White Obie
6" x 3" x 16.5" Doll
17" x 9" Base
In talking about Kimiko Koyanagi’s dolls, you of may have heard the fact that “She is a third generation Japanese doll maker.” Why is this fact so significant?
It means that she was not the first or the last to study doll making, however she is one of the few who has contemporized the art form.
Along with Koyanagi’s dolls, Earls Court Gallery is honored to showcase her brother Shigeru Muraoka and her nephew Fumihiko Muraoka’s dolls.
"Hina Doll Set"
7" x 7" x 8"
Includes platform and lanterns
Upon viewing you will notice distinct differences. Shigeru’s “Hina Doll Set” applies silk to a wooden carved structure covered in gofun. Gofun is a composite of shells, wood and glue paste, which is the primary material that Kimiko uses for her doll’s body. “Hina” dolls are shorter and elaborate in the application of silk.
9" x 4" x 11"
Fumihiko’s dolls use the Gofun for the hands feet and head and then a soft fabric body is bonded to these parts. The doll is then draped with silks garments and put into position. These dolls have a closer aesthetic to ordinary children’s dolls, but finely crafted and one of a kind.
To learn more about the art of Japanese doll making, I encourage you to read through this concise catalogue from the “NINGYO: Art and Beauty of Japanese Dolls” exhibition put together by The Japan Foundation Traveling Exhibitions. It is an excellent resource to investigate the aesthetic differences based on regions and the significance in displaying Japanese dolls.
The knowledge in this catalogue may also assist in understanding how Kimiko Koyanagi has contemporized the practice and her significant contributions in this art form, as well as the importance of her family’s work.