Posted 8 months ago
I like wooden objects - 'treen' is the term. It was only yesterday that Roman made a comment on another Kokeshi doll on CW and I promised that I would put up this doll that I bought about a month ago at the Salvo's. An interesting purchase that set me off on yet another tangent: the challenge of Japanese language and culture.
After a month of research and emails to a friend who is a a Japanese speaker and her contacts as well I am still confronted by the same question new or old? "SHINGATA" or "SOSAKU"? In this case I'm certain it is going to be "SHINGATA" yet again. But the whole process is about learning from the object, no?
This is a doll made in one piece. It is turned wood. One piece dolls are quite particular: KIJIYAMA-KEI. Northern Japan, Honshu, Akita prefecture in the north west of the island. Wild forest territory, streams and wilderness. Spa territory. Tourism and a souvenir industry similar to the Bohemian 'spa-glass' I suppose. But this area also made the wooden boxes that were later lacquered and became a familiar part of Japanese export wares: Aizu-nuri. An important family producing these wooden boxes up until about 1915 was the Ogura family.
This doll bears the name of the Ogura family.
The characters that are found on the rear have Akita Kawatsura on the right.
On the left is the family name of Ogura but the bottom two characters are a bit of a puzzle:
I know it is neither Ogura Kyushiro, Ogura Kyutaro nor Ogura Ishizou.
More puzzling is the mark on the bottom written in the English alphabet. It seems to bear little or no relationship to what is on the back of the doll. I think I can even see the number "80"?
I love the face. The nose is called a cat's nose or "neko-baba". The look is wistful in just a few brushstrokes. The 'maekake', maedare apron of the kimono has three bowl shaped (hachi) plum blossoms. There is a bow on top of the head holding the bangs.
Hieight: 24.5 cm or 9.6"
Width: 6.5 cm or 2.5"
Any help or input would be appreciated.