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Kokeshi - こけし

Kokeshi dolls are dolls carved from wood and painted by hand, and have no arms or legs. 

Kokeshi


 Kokeshi dolls were created in Tohoku province, northern Japan, at the end of the Edo period.
The area was famous for its onsens (hot springs), so the local woodworking artisans, known as Kijishi, decided to create these dolls to sell as souvenirs to tourists.
The word Kokeshi would come from: ko = tree and keshi = sculpt.
 
Another version says that originally, during a time of great famine, these dolls were created to pay homage to newborns whose mothers killed them to spare them a life of misery.
The word Kokeshi would then come from: ko = child and keshi = to make disappear.
 
Kokeshi dolls are recognized as traditional lucky charms.

Kokeshi