RARE Japan Wooden Automata Automaton Kobe Toy Kobi Doll

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  • Item Category: Ethnic, Folk & Native American Art
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Jan 06, 2008
  • Channel: Auction House
RARE Japan Wooden Automata Automaton Kobe Toy Kobi Doll

IMPORTANT NOTES

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DETAILS OF ITEM

Please double click the arrow to view this toy in action.

This piece measures 4.25"x 4.25" x 2". As you turn the knob on the side of the piece, the man who is holding a pair of white paddles begins to juggle a red ball from left to right as he moves his head from side to side while his mouth opens and closes. This is a wooden mechanical toy called Kobe Toy.

Kobe toys are wooden mechanical dolls. They are also called "Kobe Dolls" and the original production began after the opening of the Kobe port in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan in 1868 as a high-class expensive souvenir and only foreigners who came to Kobe with luxurious ships could afford to purchase them.

It is believed that the movements and design of the faces of Kobe toys were originally created by the influence of the Bunraku puppet dolls. Awaji Island off of Kobe port has a long history of Bunraku doll production. The early Kobe toys produced during the Meiji period (1868-1912) were made of boxwood and they were left without any finish. These ea
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