Iki-ningyō are life-sized dolls that were primarily used in festivals and exhibitions in Japan. This one, which belongs to the Victoria and Albert Museum, is estimated to have been made around 1880, shortly after the samurai class was outlawed.

The restoration process is a careful and complicated one that seeks to match as many of the original materials and colors as possible: some flecks of paint here, some new pieces of fabric there. The only major change made to the 130-year-old model was the addition of hidden metal supports under the arms, which will hopefully prevent the upper arms from sustaining irreparable damage due to the weight of the armor.


Contact the author at Bryan.Menegus@gizmodo.com.

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