University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Ancient Japanese Art: Karakuri Ningyo

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to preserve the art of making Karakuri Ningyo. Ancient Japanese automata, the Karakuri Ningyo of the 18th century, are said to be the forerunner of modern robots. Often seen adorning festival floats, they were used mainly as toys for the wealthy; the most popular variation was (and still is) the tea serving Karakuri. To help preserve this art form Tamaya Shobei, the 9th Karakuri Master, Aichi Institute of Technology (AIT) hosted an intensive two week International Karakuri Workshop on the AIT's campus in Toyota City, Japan. The first two authors were two of the twenty-five international students selected to participate in this research experience. To ensure the preservation of this ancient art form, Master Tamaya Shobei instructed participants on the use of tools and materials. The poster chronicles the workshop, materials and ancient tools used in the making of Karakuri Ningyo. At the end of the two week workshop, each participant created a personal Karakuri as well as a larger, more elaborate version of the same doll in groups of five. These dolls, while simple, demonstrate the basic methodology behind the making and design of Karakuri ningyo.

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Ancient Japanese Art: Karakuri Ningyo

The purpose of this research was to preserve the art of making Karakuri Ningyo. Ancient Japanese automata, the Karakuri Ningyo of the 18th century, are said to be the forerunner of modern robots. Often seen adorning festival floats, they were used mainly as toys for the wealthy; the most popular variation was (and still is) the tea serving Karakuri. To help preserve this art form Tamaya Shobei, the 9th Karakuri Master, Aichi Institute of Technology (AIT) hosted an intensive two week International Karakuri Workshop on the AIT's campus in Toyota City, Japan. The first two authors were two of the twenty-five international students selected to participate in this research experience. To ensure the preservation of this ancient art form, Master Tamaya Shobei instructed participants on the use of tools and materials. The poster chronicles the workshop, materials and ancient tools used in the making of Karakuri Ningyo. At the end of the two week workshop, each participant created a personal Karakuri as well as a larger, more elaborate version of the same doll in groups of five. These dolls, while simple, demonstrate the basic methodology behind the making and design of Karakuri ningyo.