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Tracing Venice

Komao Hayashi

Doll maker

After graduating from high school in Kyoto in 1955, Komao Hayashi became an apprentice to the 13th Kyoningyo doll master, Menya Shōzō XII. Following his apprenticeship, he became a disciple to Noh mask creator Kitazawa Nyoi. Hayashi specialises in the creation of tōso dolls that are used for the Japanese Hina-Matsuri celebration. He draws his inspiration for his unique dolls from classical Japanese literature using tōso, a malleable clay-like material, to bring his creations to life. In 2002, he was designated as the Japanese National Living Treasure for tōso dolls. Hayashi does not have an apprentice, which is quite rare for an artisan of his stature in Japan. He believes that to pass on his knowledge his apprentice must not only have the technical ability but also an artistic sensibility.

National Living Treasure - the category of tōso dolls
Japanese government

Tōso dolls are made from tōso, a modelling material made from paulownia sawdust mixed with paste. The millennia technique dates back to the Edo period. While the material is in its malleable form, it can easily be shaped. When properly dried its form will no longer be distorted. Hayashi makes the dolls clothes from dyed Washi fabric. His creations are backed by his in-depth knowledge of Noh theatre and other long-established performing arts such as kyogen, kabuki and kyoto-style dance.

Technique Tōso modelling Objects The Ateliers of Wonders Exhibition 12 Stone Garden Exhibition Contact

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