Donor: Presented by
Sir Arthur Balfour
Date Made/Found: 1875-1900
, 1873 - 1957
Material and Medium: hair, silk, porcelain, wood
Place Object Found:
Accession Number: K1929.71
Japanese doll of a young lady in costume. She is one of the palanquin bearers and is part of a set of thirty illustrating a Samurai wedding procession. They were donated to the museum in 1929 by Sir Arthur Balfour, a Sheffield industrialist and steel manufacturer. It is still unclear how he came to own them, but the dolls could have been a present for his wedding in 1899 or possibly a gift from the Japanese Royals when they attended the Cutler's Feast.
The thirty dolls portray a Samurai wedding scene and include three men, each carrying two swords. The bride sits in a sedan chair wearing a brightly coloured kimono. She is accompanied by her ladies-in-waiting and three children carrying panniers of food and drink. All of the dolls are wearing padded kimonos for extra warmth, indicating a winter wedding.
In 2010, the dolls were discovered to be in poor condition. With help from the Friends of Museums Sheffield, the Art Fund and public donations, they have now been conserved to prevent further damage. Due to their delicate state, the dolls cannot all be displayed together but will be shown in groups of six in the Treasures Gallery at Weston Park Museum and changed every year.