Post by Dave Thatcher on Jun 16, 2017 10:01:14 GMT
Iki Ningyo 生人形
During the Meiji Period Japanese armour had become defunct as the samurai class was abolished. Suits of armour were sold to merchants who exported to the west as items of curiosity. Armours were often displayed on mannequins known as iki ningyo, meaning life size doll. The appearance of these dolls are somewhat cartoon like, maybe influenced by samurai woodblock prints, noh theatre masks and Boys Day festival miniature MUSA dolls.
Oddly Iki Ningyo are uncommon in japan where armour was displayed on tradtional wooden stands, making these very much a western export product. Examples appear in many collections throughout the world from the Stibbert Museum in Italy to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, to the Royal Armouries in England.
The actual construction of these pieces are made from wood, plaster and paper, making them rather fragile. With these being so easly damaged they have become somewhat of a rarity. As a result they have become highly collectable and very expensive to acquire.
In late 2016, I managed to acquire a Iki-Nigyo head from a auction site.
The head was badly damaged so I made some repairs using traditional materials, plaster, paper etc. As a safeguard I decided to take a silicone mould of the head, just in case I needed to remodel a section and keep it the same as the original. I thought it would be best to only repair as much of the item as needed and not to over restore it.
The repairs were actable and the head is now used to enhance the display of one of my armours.
After a few visitors had remarked that it would be nice if they could own something similar I decided to use the mould that I had taken to make a copy. This would be a test of the viability and time required to reproduce such heads on a commercial basis. The copy worked well, but being a copy it had faithfully reproduced all the flaws and damage of the original.
I made another working copy of the head with the intention of creating a master to which a final production mould could be made. I made a front and rear section of the original, this would be known as the master-plug. Over the past months I have been correcting each defect by rebuilding, cutting back and redefining the curves and detail lines.
There was however a hurdle that had to be addressed, that was the eyes. Original eyes are made from thin glass, I purchased a number of false eyes, none of which looked like the original. After calling around and talking to some of my old friends in the SFX industry they recommended a little machine and PETG plastic. I cut away the eye sockets on the master-plug and made two eye shaped inserts, these were then moulded in PETG and the result is, well nearly a like for like replica.
I have now begun to make the teeth implants and have taken receipt of some hanks of black human hair from Asia.
I expect the ninny to me able to go into production in oct 2017. i have also forget to add that I have managed to source a set of original hands and feet, so there is no reason a full sized mannequin can not be assembled.
1. The original head
3. Proof of concept - replication
4. Full replication
5. Refining the Master-Plug
6. Re modelling in progress.
Check back soon!