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Akabeko – red cow – is a traditional Japanese papier-mâché toy from the Aizu region.
It is given to children with the wish for growth in strength and health.
The production process takes about 10 days. The craftsman starts by applying layers of paper around two wooden moulds to form the body and head of the cow. Once the paper is dry, the artisan splits it in two lengthwise and removes the wooden moulds, then rejoins the two parts with further layers of paper. Colouring is done first with black paint, then red and white. The final touch is a layer of lacquer.