Delightful Gosho-ningyo (Palace Doll) holding a Takarabune (Treasure Ship), Edo Period

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8" (20 cm.) Gosho-ningyo posed in classic seated form with both legs to the front, is carved of wood and covered in a fine white gofun with painted details, smiling expression, thick silk fiber hair, dressed in a red chirimen silk crepe haragake bib with embroidered tachibana (mandarin orange) crest with details in gold thread. In his outstretched left hand, he holds an elaborate takarabune (treasure ship) crafted of papier mache and decorated with fringed sails, and with both the mast and the prow ornamented by the sacred hoju pearl of enlightenment, which also appears in the hold along with other treasures such as the weight and the coin. Some craquelure, old repairs to takarabune. Edo Period, 19th century. Exhibited Mingei International Museum (2005). Published in Ningyo: The Art of the Japanese Doll, page 29. The Takarabune is an especially popular symbol of happiness and good fortune, the subject of innumerable paintings, woodblock prints, poems and tales. It is also closely associated with Momotaro the Peach Boy and Ryujin, the undersea dragon god. At New Year's, it is traditional to sleep with an image of the takarabune under your pillow and if you dream of the treasure ship that night you will have good fortune for the upcoming year.
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