Renjishi, the Kabuki dance of the shishi father and son (mythical lion-like animal).
As with many cultures regarding lions the myth of the shishi is that this animal is the king of beasts. Note the peonies on his costume. The shishi is also king of flowers!
The father shishi has white hair. This doll with its red hair represents the lion cub.
The shishi cub must be trained and it is the father’s duty to train the cub to be fearless. The shishi father must test his cub to see if he has trained him to be a strong and brave shishi. The father kicks his cub over the edge of a cliff and the cub showing extreme strength and courage triumphantly climbs its way to safety.
Perhaps other cubs before it were not able to make it to the top and thus the father’s anxiety waiting for his cub to appear.
What a wonderful experience to watch a story unfold, even knowing the outcome you are still rooting for that shishi cub!