A Toy-Shop

A Toy-Shop by Mortimer Menpes. 1901. Watercolor. Source: Japan: A Record in Colour, facing p. 182. More accurately, this is a shop in which Japanese dolls are made and sold. These differ greatly from the children's toys shown in stalls at festivals and so on. Doll-making is an art of its own, and the best dolls would be kept in glass cases, as shown here. The special sets of dolls displayed on Girls' Day (Hinamatsuri on 3 March) represent the Emperor and his wife and the royal court, including musicians, and are extremely costly. Passed down from mother to daughter, they become heirlooms. Menpes seems not to have realised that such dolls were more than playthings.

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Menpes, Dorothy. Japan: A Record in Colour. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1901. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of California Libraries. Web. 6 July 2019.

Created 6 July 2019