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Japanese Traditional Craft Resource Center Category


Japanese Traditional Craft

Craft Category Wood & Bamboo Work
Name Echizen Takeningyo (Bamboo Dolls)

Main Production Site:Fukui

"Echizentakeningyo" is a traditional craft in Fukui prefecture, one of the snowiest prefectures in Japan. Fukui has Madake (phyllostachys bambusoides) and Mosodake (phyllostachys edulis), both of them grow under severe coldness with good quality. Fukui people were making baskets and vases by using these bamboos for ages. A bamboo's growing speed is fastest among all plants. As a symbol of bringing happiness and getting rid of misfortune, these bamboo are always used in Kadomatsu (New year's pine decoration) and Shinto ceremony. Craftsman in Fukui take advantage of the good quality and lucky bamboo to make bamboo dolls with their wishes of bringing happiness.

[Fukui Prefecture designated local craft]
Information provided by: Echizen Takeningyo Association
Translation by: Morito Kawaoku, reviewed by Chan Yee Ting

Materials Phyllostachysbambusoides, Phyllostachys edulis, soot-colored bamboo and simon bamboo, toratake, leopard bamboo and sesame bamboo
Crafting Processes Hair is the most characteristic part of Echizen Bamboo doll, which represents Japanese beautiful long black hair. It is made of Madake. The Madake is split to less than 0.2 mm thick. Around five thousands to seven thousands of split bamboo are used and planted as hair in one doll. As hair is the essence of women, the bamboo-haired doll is made beautifully with individual personality.

Also, dried bamboo is tough and hard to be manufactured. With the difficulty of making a bamboo craft due to its hardness, it is interesting to judge which bamboo is suitable for being craft. Like a fingerprint, all bamboo has different shape. A cylindrical shaped bamboo may have an elliptic circle or perfect circle. A bamboo may grow up towards the sky, or opposition direction. Therefore, to understand natural bamboo and keep the bamboo natural characteristics during manufacturing are the basic of bamboo crafting.
History Echizen Bamboo doll 's origin dates back to 1952. At that time Shida Hotaka and Sanshiro brother tried to make a bamboo doll using the edge of bamboo. They made Eiheijiunsui doll, kanjinchou (kabuki), Fuji musume and a doll playing music instrument, etc. At around 1955, they made a hit in the "Bamboo crafting showcase festival", receiving an award of ministry of middle business. Moreover in the "New manufacturing festival", they received an award from ministry of agriculture and economics. These achievements attracted attention from the crafting industry and Fukui prefecture's craft products became well known in whole Japan.

◆Exhibition / Showcase
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