HOW HAKATA DOLL IS MADE
1. Different from some other Japanese dolls, Hakata dolls are 100% made of clay.The soil used to make the clay is taken from Mt. Aburayama near Hakata area. It is white and has a fine consitituency. After it is excavaveted, it is dried and is broken into pieces and filtered. After the water is taken out, the clay is kneaded.
2. The kneaded clay is placed on a potter's wheel and shaped into a sample figure. This stage, as well as the later painting stage, is very important.
3. A two-faced plaster mold is made using the sample figure. If the doll is very intricate, a number of molds will be used. For example, the head and the hand may be made separately.
4. Well-kneaded clay is pressed into the mold. This is done by hand, with the figures pressing hard into the clay so as to pick up decorative details.
5. The molded clay is then removed from the mold and set out to dry. An unlimited amount of figures cannot be made from a single mold; one mold can usually turn out approximately 30-50 figures.
6. Clouds of smoke rose from the kilns of yesteryear, but today's kilns are operated by electricity or gas at temperatures ragnging from 850-950 degrees Celsius. This improvement in technology has helped to raise the quality of the finished doll.
7. After removing from the kiln, the figure is primed for painting. This primer will give it a kind of sheen when it is finished.
8. The doll is then painted by brush. First the dress (kimono) and then the sash (obi) is painted. Later the design is painted. The paints are made of natural substances including mud and stone. (Intricate painting is one of the main factors in deciding the price of the doll- as it the reputation of the artist, shape and delicacy of the sculpture, and time involved in making the doll.)
9. The painting of the face is done with great care using a fine tipped brush. The lips, eyes and eyelashes are pained.
10. From start to finish, it takes anywhere between 20 and 60 days to complete a Hakata doll. The dolls shown on this website are, to the very end, handmade. With great care, the doll making technology is tried to be raised while traditional craftsmanship is being maintained.
11. One of the two designs of Label of Certificate issued by The Union of Hakata Doll Manufacturers and Suppliers as shown by the photos below is put at the bottom part of the doll.
Japanese Hakata Doll Gallery Sasanqua deals with only dolls which hold these labels.