We are now the proud owners of 100 Amigurumi crocheted animals. A large box arrived in May. Its contents were originally part of an exhibition at RESOBOX Gallery, a Japanese cultural center located in Queens, NY. Each piece is one of a kind and handmade by professional artists from all over the world.
They will be added to our Folk Arts Collection and soon be the center of upcoming displays, projects, and programs this summer and fall hosted by the Folklife Center.
Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features, as is typical in Japanese culture.
Amigurumi stems from animism, a philosophy in the foundations of many Japanese traditions and customs. Animism is the belief that gods belong to everything: water, food, nature, buildings and house, even technology. In Japanese, this is called Yaoyorozu no Kami. In fact, Japanese people often put eyes, arms, and legs onto non-human objects and give them imaginary lives in order to feel closer to these objects and show them respect as co-existing partners in this world.
Kingsley Holl will begin the process of cataloging this wonderful collection, as she begins her summer internship with us on June 1. She has just finished her first year at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, with a specific interest in our ethnographic collections for her studies in Anthropology and Biology. She will add each piece to a searchable FileMaker Pro database, providing a photograph, description, artist bio, country of origin, notes, and any other information she can find about each piece.
And then the fun continues! Stay tuned for postings from the Folklife Center and Children's Department. As our collection of 100 Amigurumi inspires us to create displays, programs, workshops and other projects in the upcoming months, we will be asking you to join us in our exploration of all things Amigurumi.
For more information
Here's a link to RESOBOX and their World Amigurumi Exhibition Vol. 5 Threatened Threads: Protect our Endangered Amigurumi! (December 2019 to March 31, 2021):
Here's a video from World Amigurumi Exhibition Vol. 3/ Mixed Materials Made Mini Monsters (December 30, 2016):