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  • Titill er á ensku Japanese Dolls: Then and Now
  • Bakkalár
  • In this thesis the evolution of the Japanese ningyou (doll) from a shamanistic religious phenomenon to a commercialised good will be looked into. The first Japanese ningyou to surface was the Dogu, being a very probable fertility symbol; it was of a large importance to the Japanese people, as fertility of the earth, animals and the people and was therefore very important to the society. With the Haniwa, the Japanese ningyou received another meaning; protection. These two elements, fertility and protection became the two most important factors of the Japanese ningyou over the centuries to come.
    With the appearance of the Amagatsu and the Hoko, the ningyous’ significance deepened and with their evolution, the ningyo received a more permanent place in society. However, in modern times, such values have come to not matter as much. As time passed and the ningyo succumbed to immense popularity they also succumbed to the effect of commercialisation. Due to this the ningyou slowly lost its connection to fertility and protection and their importance shifted to the aesthetics side. Other modern ningyo have also succumbed to commercialisation; the Kokeshi in the form of the kindai Kokeshi ningyou, and the Ball jointed dolls, even though the idea of them is not originally Japanese, the execution of the Japanese and the Japanese commercialised society has made them what they are.
    Thus this thesis comes to the conclusion that the ningyo that used to be highly valued as a shamanistic and religiously important in the lives of the Japanese people, is now merely a product of commercialisation.

  • 9.5.2014

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