Watching this man carving these dolls and painting them by hand is practically a Zen-like experience in itself.
The dolls are originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist. They are exchanged amongst friends with written messages stored within them as tokens of friendship.
Kokeshi dolls are dated back to have originally been created during the Edo Period (1600-1868). The craftsmanship hasn’t changed for over 500 years and has managed to successfully pass its technique down from generation to generation.