Kokeshi (こけしare Japanese dolls,
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.
One characteristic of kokeshi dolls
is their lack of arms or legs.
The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist.
Their origin is unclear.
Alan Booth suggests that kokeshi may be fetish substitutes
for unwanted babies killed after birth.
While infanticide was commonly practiced in Japan until the 20th century,
there is little if any evidence to support the theory
that kokeshi have anything to do with the practice.
Kokeshi were first produced by Kiji-shi.
Later on kokeshi making techniques spread to other spa areas
in the Tōhoku Region.
It is said that these dolls
were originally made
during the middle of the Edo period (1600–1868)
to be sold to people who were visiting
the hot springs in the north-east of the country.