Magical Mitate Gosho-ningyo (Parody Palace Doll) of Ursashima-taro and the Turtle

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14" (36 cm.) The papier mache single-piece form depicts a classic gosho with a chirimen silk crepe zukin cap and matching haragake bib bearing the sacred treasures motif, is covered in a white gofun with painted details, smiling expression, silk hair tuft side locks and silk ties, posed seated atop a turtle done in rich green and gold pigments with painted shell details, protruding head and legs. There is minor fabric fading. Late Edo/Early Meiji Period, Mid-19th century. Published in Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo, page 108. The mitate gosho-ningyo (parody palace doll) depicts the children's folk tale of Urashima-taro, a young fisherman who rescues a turtle. The turtle then reveals herself to be Otohime, the daughter of Ryujin the Undersea Dragon God. She then takes Urashima-taro to her undersea palace where he lives happily for many years. When he asks to be allowed to return home he is given a box with strict instructions never to open it. When he arrives home he discovers that he has been gone for centuries and all that he knew and loved are long gone. In despair he opens the box and he immediately ages and dies, for the box contained time itself.
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