Kagami Mochi Girl VI
I am particularly fond of the decorations used in Japan to welcome the New Year in, one of them being the Kagami Mochi (鏡餅), made from two round mochi rice cakes, usually a larger one on the bottom, then a smaller one, and a daidai Japanese citrus fruit placed on the top. The mochi often sit on a wooden stand called a sanpo, over a sheet of paper said to ward off fires from the house for the following year. Also commonly seen hanging from the sanpo are white paper streamers folded into a zig zag shape resembling lightning called shide, which are frequently used in Shinto rituals.
According to Shinto custom, these offerings should be placed in several locations around the house from the 1st January to the day of 'kagami biraki'. Kagami mochi means 'mirror rice cake' (perhaps named after the mirrors used in Shinto religion), and is thought to contain the spirit of rice, therefore is a perfect way to welcome the 'toshigami' - a Shinto deity who visits during the New Year, as well as being offered to other household spirits. Kagami mochi can either be home made or comes pre-packaged in in convenience stores and supermarkets.
Kagami biraki means 'rice cake opening', and takes place normally on 11th January. After the opening of the mochi, it can be used in a type of shiruko - sweet red azuki bean soup with mochi dumplings, called 'ozenzai' (おぜんざい).
In 2018 I made only two of these girls, so have decided to make a few different ones this year to welcome in 2020. This girl is balancing a mochi stack on her head, with pine sprigs for her hair and on her body and shide lightning shaped strips.
My pieces are painted in a naïve and simple style, with visible brush strokes and differing paint consistencies. It is important to note that these dolls are made from real wood which will have naturally occurring markings and grain, and sometimes there will be small amount of bleeding along the grain, which is to be expected when using untreated wood - please make sure you consult the pictures carefully before purchasing. She has been finished in a top coat of matt acrylic.
A note about 'Wood Girls'
My wooden girls are made from lime or linden wood and hand painted in the U.K. by me, a British artist, exploring patterns and scenes encountered by me on my travels and in daily life. They were inspired by the kokeshi dolls made in Japan, and with every purchase I include a leaflet explaining a little about the history of kokeshi in Japan and how they are made. I prefer to call mine 'wood girls' to distinguish them from the traditional folk craft of Japan.
Stamped underneath with ‘nakamura’ characters [中村] in red ink.
Approximately 20cm high.
Please note: THIS IS NOT A TOY and should be kept out of the reach of children.