Japan has been called a nation of ningyō (dolls). As early as the seventh century, simple wooden dolls were breathed on to protect against misfortune in the coming year.

By the 1600s, doll-making had become so refined that ningyō were viewed as fine art. Different regions became known for producing distinctive styles. Today, Japanese dolls are known for their exquisite craftsmanship.

On tour from the Japan Foundation, Ningyō: Art and Beauty of Japanese Dolls features more than 60 dolls from different time periods and different regions. The exhibition explores the use of ningyō to pray for children’s growth, ningyō as fine art and diverse folk art, and the revival and global spread of ningyō culture in the modern era.

Marvel at these precious objects and to find out what they can teach us about Japanese culture.