Boy on Rocking Horse, c. 1910.



1910sAmusements & RecreationsLifestyle
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Child with hobby horse, c. 1910.

“An old wooden toy horse I bought from Mr H.A. Ramsden in Tokyo first excited my curiosity. It was so strange, so bold, so amazing. I knew it must have a history, but Mr. Ramsden himself knew nothing about it and his Japanese associates could tell me no more.

“Mr. Shimizu gives the name of this toy as Miharu goma or ‘Colt of Miharu’ from the place in Oshu, North Japan, where it was made and says that it was called also kosodate uma or ‘child raising horse’ which suggests that it may have been a charm for protecting children. Another wooden horse in his collection, equally fierce looking from Oshu, is sold on the fifteenth of the Eighth Month at the shrine of Hachiman, the God of War at Hachinohe. Painted clay horses are very common toys for boys and he figures three one from Edo, one from Chugoku, and one from Koganegahara Shimosa.

“He illustrates, too, a hobby horse with a realistic head and terminating in a wheel, a toy copy of the hobby horse called haru goma or ‘Spring horse’, used in the streets by entertainers on New Year’s Day. Another hobby horse without the wheel is sold every spring at the four shrines of Kwannon at the four corners the city of Nagoya.”

Japanese Toys and Their Lore, from Asia and the Americas, Volume 20, April 1920, by Stewart Culin

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