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The Magic World of Ningyos

The exhibition "The Magic World of Ningyos," a realization of the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (MON), presents to the public a collection of Japanese dolls that are part of the collection of Asian art formed by more than three thousand pieces and recently donated by the ambassador Fausto Godoy to MON. The show can be seen as of September 20 in Room 10.

"The exhibition 'The Magical World of the Ningyos' is only one of the countless aspects of this amazing collection. It reveals the Asian continent in its geographic extension, ethno-religious plurality, and artistic exuberance throughout thousands of years of history," says MON's director-president, Juliana Vosnika.

  • Artist
  • Curatorship

    Denise Mattar

  • Exhibition period

    From 19 de setembro de 2019

  • Long term

  • Location

    Room 10

  • Plan your visit


The exhibition curator, Denise Mattar, explains why Ningyos occupy a different place in Japanese society compared to dolls in the West. "For us, they are toys, whereas, in Japan, they are objects full of millennial meanings, which evoke a magical and ritualistic atmosphere," she says. "They are very valuable, fragile, and kept as family treasures."

Traditionally, Ningyos are auspicious gifts to wish newborns longevity, health, and fertility. Families also display them on special dates and are attributed to the mission of protecting and purifying the houses that receive them.

The meaning of the word Ningyo is "human form": nin (human, people) and gyo (form). "These objects presented here have spanned the last 200 years in Japan and show a little explored, but extremely rich, side of the Japanese soul and culture", comments Fausto Godoy.

Dialogue between exhibitions

The exhibition "The Magical World of the Ningyos," not by chance, takes place simultaneously with the second module of the African art exhibition at MON. There, busts and statues of elements of notorious importance in the culture of African countries are contrasted and combined with fertility dolls, also used as children's toys. The exhibition period of both coincides with Brazil's Children Day, suggesting an open and rich dialogue between the exhibitions and activities offered concurrently by the Museum.

The proposal to bring to the public Asian as well as African art is aligned with the Referential Framework of the Museum, which establishes guidelines for the constitution of the institution's collection. This document guides MON's work in visual arts, architecture, and design, emphasizing Brazilian and Paraná art. It also expands its mission to form a collection of contemporary African, Latin American, and Asian art, making the visitors' experience more exciting and intense.

"The Magical World of the Ningyos"
Exhibition period from September 20th
Room 10

Featured video

#monemcasa | Hoje a nossa visita virtual é na mostra “O Mundo Mágico dos Ningyos”. Venha conhecer o significado por trás de uma tradição japonesa pouco explorada. #museuoscarniemeyer#monemcasa#arteasiática @museuoscarniemeyer

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Exhibition period

Until 9 de janeiro de 2025


Room 10


Access until 5:30 pm

Ticket sales

R$ 30 full-price | R$ 15 half-price
Free admission every Wednesday


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