Can you believe that my own mama doesn’t even have a set of dolls painted by yours truly? Sure, she’s got a rare wine cask doll, which she uses to explain to visitors just exactly what it is I do with my life should the topic arise…quite unsuccessfully, I imagine.

“So…your daughter paints nesting dolls?” I can picture these visitors asking as they stare dumbly at the single wooden item Mom presents them. “I thought nesting dolls means there are more dolls nesting inside.”

“Yes, but,” Mom will attempt to explain that wine cask dolls are the same but different in as such that one stows a forbidden bottle of liquor inside as an effort to mask a penchant for drink…which is moot in my mother’s case as the only alcoholic beverage she imbibes is if it’s slathered on a rum cake.

So I painted her this set for her birthday this year. The subject matter might seemingly be a bit risque for a little Chinese lady, sure enough, but Mom loves Japanese culture and she’d told me more than once how upset she had been when I gave away the Yakuza sake wine cask doll.

So here it is, Mom: Three Yakuza boys. Each one bears a scene from traditional Japanese folklore you read me when I refused to go to sleep. Happy Birthday!

Yakuza trio

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The stories are (from left to right): Kintaro, Momotaro, and Urashima Taro.

Some close ups:

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