Diminutive Gosho-ningyo (Palace Doll) with Kemari Ball, Edo Period

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6" (15 cm.) Diminutive Gosho-ningyo fashioned of wood is covered overall in a fine white gofun with painted details, silk fiber hair, and is wearing a silk crepe haragake bib with painted floral designs, with left hand resting on knee and right hand holding a colorful kemari ball. Restoration to gofun. Edo Period, 19th century. Kemari is an ancient game similar to modern hacky-sack but played with a larger hollow deerskin ball stitched in the middle, creating a cinched shape. Initially imported from China, kemari was a favorite pastime amongst nobility during the Heian Period (794-1185), spreading to the samurai classes and onto society at large by the Edo Period. The kemari itself is a symbol of amusement and has been used as a decorative motif for everything from kimono designs to ceramic hand warmers.
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