Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Japanese 14.75 inch silk-skinned doll with a painted face, ca. 1920.
This is a tale of two girls and a doll.  It begins on August 24, 1922 with the birth of the girls; one, Mary Rosenthal (my mother-in-law), the daughter of San Francisco natives, and the other,  Mamie Yoshida, the daughter of Japanese immigrants.  The families became friends, as they bonded over the babies, who were born on the same day in San Francisco.

Mamie received a silk-skinned doll from Japanese relatives as a baby gift.  It was nearly 15 inches high, clothed in silk, and protected by a large glass case.  It was never intended for play.  Instead, it was the object of both girls' admiration. 

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941,  Japanese Americans were forced out of their homes and relocated and incarcerated in camps.  Mamie and her family were among those interned, and they could not take much with them.  The Japanese doll was given to Mary.  Mary was in her twenties,  so her mother gave the doll to a much younger cousin.  Seventy-five years later, in April 2016,  Mary's cousin returned the doll.  She was moving to a retirement home, and couldn't take the doll with her.  You may wonder why the doll wasn't returned to Mamie after the war.  She died of leukemia in one of the Internment Camps in Manzanar, California

As this is a transferware blog, I thought I'd show you Aesthetic Japonesque patterns made during the late 19th century.   Japanese design was extremely popular in America and Europe.  Just not the Japanese people.

Maw & Co. (1852-1969) 6 inch tile with a geisha girl subject, ca. 1880.

Burgess & Leigh (1862-1999) 8 inch tray "The Geisha," ca. 1898.

Burgess & Leigh (1862-1999) "The Geisha" teapot.  It is part of the series seen above.  Remember to click on the patterns to make them bigger.

A close-up of the doll's lovely face

Mary on a walk in 2016 with David and Dogozshi

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