Iki doll

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An iki doll (生人形 iki-ningyō) was a type of Japanese traditional dolls. They are life-sized lifelike dolls, that were popular in misemono during the Edo period of Japan.[1][2] The name is now used mainly to denote shop store mannequins.[2]

Artists famous during the Edo period for making iki-ningyō include Akiyama Heijūrō, Takedoa Nuinosuke, Matsumoto Kisaburō (松本喜三郎), and Yasumoto Kamehachi (安本亀八). The dolls that they made were novel not just for their subjects that shocked viewers — figures lying in pools of their own blood, for example, or Akiyama Heijuro's "Development of a Fetus", a life-sized model of a pregnant woman whose abdomen opens up to reveal twelve supposed stages of development of a human fetus in the womb — but for their influence upon the genre of ningyō. The works of Kamehachi and Kisaburō, in particular, contributed to the form an extreme sense of realism.[3]

The earliest exhibition of iki-ningyō, as recorded in Tommori Seiichi's biography of Kamehachi, was on February 2, 1852 exhibition by Ōe Chūbei entitled Representations of Modern Dolls in this Year of Abundance in the Naniwashinchi brothel district of Osaka. Chūbei's name imayō-ningyō ("modern dolls") indicated that he considered this form of doll to be modern and new.[3]


  1. ^ Tsutomu Kawamoto (June 2007). "Nishiki-e depicting Iki-ningyo". National Diet Library Newsletter (155). 
  2. ^ a b Louis Frédéric (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Translated by Käthe Roth. Harvard University Press. p. 379. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5. 
  3. ^ a b Alan Scott Pate (2008). "Iki-ningyō: Living Dolls and the Export Market". Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo. Art and Design Series. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 142–154. ISBN 978-4-8053-0922-3. 

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