where to buy Japanese dolls
December 10, 2012 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I would like to buy my wife a top-quality Japanese doll for Christmas. Like a geisha or kabuki dancer or something we put in a display cabinet or something. I'm willing to spend quite a bit, but where on the internet can I find finely made dolls? As if finding sites that sell them isn't hard enough, it's virtually impossible to gauge the quality by a picture alone. Can anybody help?
posted by gnossie to Shopping (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My parents have a TON of Japanese dolls. It got so that the ladies who had been collecting them would wait for them to leave the house and then leave whole collections on their doorstep. It's a bit much.

My recommendation is to study up on the types of dolls there are.

You might enjoy collecting Hina Dolls. They are amassed in a court, and many of the figures are shown kneeling. These are typical gifts for Girls Day.

I've seen them for sale in Japanese department stores, and in some boutiques in "Japantowns" in San Francisco/San Jose.

The dolls are not inexpensive, and you might want to have your wife come with you to choose her doll.

The face of your dolls should be porcelain and hand painted, the kimono should be silk and look rich and luxurious. The hair should look and feel like real hair. You should have some provinance about your doll. Where was it made, who made it?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:21 AM on December 10, 2012

Hakata dolls are made of clay. I have been to one of the factories here. There are also paper dolls of astonishing size and complexity. My grandfather had one about 18 inches in height, encased in a glass lacquered box.
posted by infini at 10:05 AM on December 10, 2012

I recommend purchasing the dolls from Japan. For example, this seller. I am sorry, but the site is in Japanese. However, you can at least click around and see what style of doll you would like to buy. These, for example, some with display cases. They start at about US $400.

I am happy to help if you decide to purchase from a Japanese merchant.
posted by Tanizaki at 10:38 AM on December 10, 2012

You could try searching for japanese ball-jointed dolls (BJDs). I don't know of any companies specifically from japan off the top of my head (mine are from china and korea) but I'm sure there are some.

Den of Angels has more pictures and information.
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:35 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's a place that sells antique ones (look at the ones marked ningyo). Probably very pricey though.
posted by gudrun at 2:33 PM on December 10, 2012

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