VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Miss Yamaguchi, Friendship Doll, Torei Ningyo
A.1951.16.328a-c
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This doll is considered a masterpiece because she is beautifully crafted with extraordinary and wonderfully delicate details. But, really, more than just a doll, she is a personality and one of the most popular objects in the Musem's Asian collection. She receives many visits and viewing requests, even when she is not on display. Indeed, people travel great distances (sometimes internationally) to Santa Fe just to see Miss Yamaguchi. Also, the Museum's collection holds most of the items that originally came with the doll, including her "passport" and her "boat passenger ticket" as well as her everyday tea set, items for tea ceremony, her vanity, dresser, sewing kit, parasol, and other personal effects.

History of the Object
Miss Yamaguchi originated in Japan and was sent as a gift to the children of America. It is not clear how she came to Chicago, Illinois, but she she did, and then found her way into the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Interestingly, it is believed that this doll may not in fact be Miss Yamaguchi, but instead, Miss Saga. This theory is unconfirmed, and it is unclear when she may have been given the name, Miss Yamaguchi. Therefore her true identity and history is contested. We do know, however that she was referred to as Miss Yamaguchi while she was in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago donated Miss Yamaguchi and her accoutrement, along with a number of other dolls, to the Museum of International Folk Art in 1951.

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Type
Other 
Materials
Composition (face and body), hair, glass (eyes), silk, cotton 
Measurements
H:86, W:44, D:18.5 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century; ca. 1927 
Function
This Friendship Doll, or torei ningyo, was part of a friendship Doll Exchange, a program between Japan and America in the 1920s; the program aimed to create peace, understanding, and friendship between Japanese and American Children. Children of Japan sent a doll from each Prefecture to the States, and American children sent a doll from the US to Japan. This doll, Miss Yamaguchi, is intended to represent Yamaguchi Prefecture. 
Acquisition
The founder of the Museum of International Folk Art, Miss Florence Dibell Bartlett was originally from Chicago and came from a family of art patrons; in fact, her brother, Frederic Clay Bartlett, donated a large collection of Impressionist paintings to the Art Institute of Chicago. It was the Art Institute of Chicago that donated this doll (and others) to the Museum of International Folk Art. 
Copyright
Museum of International Folk Art, Gift of the Art Institute of Chicago (A.1951.16.328a-c). Photo by Paul Smutko. 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Museum of International Folk Art 
Museum
Museum of International Folk Art 
Credit line
Museum of International Folk Art, Gift of the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo by Paul Smutko. 

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