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    Posted 12 years ago

    (751 items)

    I've had this Kokeshi doll for a few years and liked the detail, the carving.
    They are from northern Japan.One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist.

    "Using wood that has been seasoned for several months, typically from the dark cherry or the lighter mizuki tree, the kokeshi craftsman turns and cuts the doll on a lathe and polishes it to a fine finish. The head and body are generally turned separately then attached together by way of a plug. The kokeshi craftsman then finally hand paints on the face and the kimono pattern. An interesting video about how kokeshi are made today can be seen on"

    "Kokeshi are generally bought by Japanese as mementos. In addition to being ornamental, they are also seen as charms to prevent fires or even ward off evil. Mizuki, the wood often used to make the kokeshi doll's face, literally translates as "water tree". It is a very moist wood and some Japanese believe that having a kokeshi in their home helps prevent fire.
    Kokeshi, celebrated today as one of Japan's folk arts, are of two types, traditional and creative."

    This one is 'creative'.

    "Creative kokeshi, relatively new having only developed as an art form since the 2nd World War, retain the limbless kokeshi characteristic. However, they are more contemporary in their design with perhaps a more shapely body, added features such as hair, as well as colourful exquisitely patterned kimono. Creative kokeshi are 'created' by artists, and have features and styles unique to their own particular artist or creator. The majority of creative kokeshi are made in Gunma prefecture."

    I'm hoping that someone can read the signature for me. I'm also hoping that it is by Usaburo Okamoto.

    I've put it with a favourite porcelain votive.

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    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    1. AmberRose AmberRose, 12 years ago
      V, your gal is quite the looker.
      Sorry I do not read Japanese and only know how to ask where I am, and where is the bathroom.
    2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Many thanks to you three! AmberRose, scandinavian_pieces and BELLIN68!
    3. AmberRose AmberRose, 12 years ago
      I am such a dork. I just put together that that the votive has the same shape as her hair! Plus you are using your fancy display blocks!
      Hope you are doing better than me today V!
    4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      I've just got back from a shopping excursion, but found absolutely nothing.
      You're probably going to have a better one than me AmberRose!
    5. AmberRose AmberRose, 12 years ago
      V see my posting of a Danish Squirrel to see my one and only find for the last two weeks. Going on another run tomorrow as my job will take me near some of my fav thrifts but they have been super dry for the last month. One of them had empty shelves! Sometimes the hunter comes back empty handed...thats why there are farmers too!
    6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Look forward to seeing them, mate!
    7. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Many thanks Marty!
    8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Many thanks PhilDavidAlexanderMorris!
    9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Hi Amy thank you for that! And if you could thank Hiro for me too! I'll now check on the Kokeshi site I have.
      After a little searching I have made a couple of discoveries:
      Kokeshi are divided into two types traditional (dento) and creative (sousaku).
      I think the 'signature' under my doll says 'sousaku'.
      I have seen another sousaku on ebay with the same signature this morning.

      Creative kokeshi are made in an area called Gumma (or Gunma) province ... of special interest to me because my surname is the same sound spelt differently.

      I'm still hoping to find out more about the use of 'sousaku' on the base.
      Traditional dento kokeshi collectors frown on 'sousaku'.

    10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Hi Amy! I'm sorry I forgot to put it in (an earlier version no longer worked) :(
    11. Roman, 12 years ago
      This doll is not a creative Kokeshi, but a modern (shingata), or contemporary doll, though the original would possibly have been a one off, or creative Kokeshi.
      Creative Kokeshi (sosaku), are unique and made by one craftsman. Modern Kokeshi are mass produced by many different workers.
    12. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Thanks for comment Roman. How does one tell the difference between "shingata" and "sosaku"?
    13. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Many thanks crabbykins!
    14. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Many thanks austrohungaro!
    15. cecy06 cecy06, 12 years ago
      I have a couple of these & they are so cute :)
    16. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Many thanks cecyo6!
      C'est bon, c'est bon!
    17. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Many thanks guyfrmatl !
    18. Roman, 12 years ago
      The easiest way to tell the difference is by the price! Sosaku/Creative dolls cost so much more. The carving, painting and pyrography is of a much higher level. I'm not sure how many of each of these "one-of-a-kind" dolls are made...Probably depends on how many he can sell! The mass produced Shingata/Modern dolls are watered down versions. Easier to manufacture. The great Sekiguchi Sansaku's works can be viewed at: Look at his one-off works, then view the "regular" dolls. You'll understand immediately.
    19. Roman, 12 years ago
      By the way; I'm not decrying modern kokeshi dolls. Many are very beautiful. Bargains can be had by looking on auction sites and buying pre-owned dolls. But beware of "vintage sosaku doll. Circa 1980, etc." Most are nothing of the sort, and many dolls first manufactured decades ago are still being produced today.
    20. vetraio50 vetraio50, 12 years ago
      Many thanks for this Roman. I will put a new doll on CW tomorrow. It's a one piece Kijiyama-kei. I'd be interested in your input.
    21. Roman, 11 years ago
      I've just viewed the doll you asked about . I'm nothing if not honest. I have no idea as to the worth of such a piece. There are so many traditional dolls like this, and because of their similarity, I wouldn't know one maker from another!
      The expesnsive and usually breathtaking kokeshi are usually obvious by their appearance. I hope to buy/own one, one day. But maybe at my age , time is against me! You should collect what your eyes love, regardless of market value...Isn't that true of those we love, too?
    22. vetraio50 vetraio50, 11 years ago
      Many thanks Roman!
    23. Roman, 11 years ago
      You're welcome!
      Maybe befriending someone of Japanese heritage might help to tell you more about Kokeshi.
      "It started with a bottle." Lol. I recall seeing a Lalique dragonfly. I think it was originally made as an alternative bonnet (hood) ornament for those who owned a Rolls Royce or similarly exclusive auto, but wanted to make it more exclusive! The Spirit of Ecstacy by C R Sykes is the factory fitted ornament, but nothing compares to Lalique's breathtaking designs. I believe it changed colour, too. His dragonfly broach - half female, half dragonfly, is perhaps my favourite glass piece.
      Sorry if I bored you! Lol. I just love certain things!
    24. vetraio50 vetraio50, 11 years ago
      No way, thank you again.
    25. butnl8ty, 11 years ago
      I have several kokeshi both traditional and creative. This is very reminiscent of work by Masae Fujikawa, however the signature is not his. Also they would never put the word for "creative" on the bottom, it is always signed with a name. I see where many are using paper stickers also. Both traditional school and creative school are very prolific producers, with techniques being taught and handed down. Thank you for sharing, got my creative juices flowing!
    26. vetraio50 vetraio50, 11 years ago
      Many thanks to you too butnl8ty!
    27. vetraio50 vetraio50, 11 years ago
      Many thanks mustangtony!
    28. Maryjean, 11 years ago
      I have this doll and a smaller version of it also. I have many Kokeshi, and 1 that I know is very old. I hope to post picture soon.
    29. vetraio50 vetraio50, 11 years ago
      Thanks maryjean, I'd love to see them!
    30. japanfanbev japanfanbev, 11 years ago
      Hi. I just found this website with a lot of signatures of kokeshi makers on, you may want to check yours against the signatures there...
    31. vetraio50 vetraio50, 11 years ago
      Many thanks bev! I'll be bookmarking this one! Thanks again!
    32. japanfanbev japanfanbev, 11 years ago
      I bookmarked it myself too!
    33. Soulportal Soulportal, 10 years ago
      Hi vetraio50, Sosaku and Shingata are used terms used interchangeably as they both refer to the Creative type of Kokeshi vs. the "dento" which are the traditional Kokeshi. This beautiful Kokeshi you have is by Kisaku and the design is believed to be from the 1970s. I've seen it listed many times on auction sites for sale. Regrettably they never use the full artist name, I asked a friend who said he was going to meet a Kokeshi Artist who knew this doll maker, if he provides me any further details I will share it -Soul
    34. vetraio50 vetraio50, 10 years ago
      I appreciate your time and effort SOULPORTAL, THANKS!
    35. bushbaby bushbaby, 9 years ago
      Hello ther...Soulportal is correct...This is a will probably find a few on Ebay at the moment...Not sure why but these things often go in cycles...
    36. vetraio50 vetraio50, 9 years ago
      Many thanks BUSHBABY !!!!!
    37. vetraio50 vetraio50, 9 years ago
      Many thanks AGHCOLLECT too !!!!!
    38. Soulportal Soulportal, 8 years ago
      Hi all wanted to clarify some definitions, on Sosaku and Shingata I previously commented that the terms were used interchangeably for what westerners call creative Kokeshi. There are some infused Kokeshi where creative style mixes with some traditional elements making these merit a class of their own "Shingata". Shingata, Kokeshi are not dento, (traditional) namely, because artisans are not in the official registrars as dento craftsman. They resemble, or borrow, traditional Kokeshi elements and for this reason are not fully Sosaku (creative). So they are known as Shingata Kokeshi. For a good example of this style you can Google Kiyohara Takao (Takeo). -Soul
    39. vetraio50 vetraio50, 8 years ago
      Many thanks SOULPORTAL !!!!!
    40. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks NEWFLD !!!!!!

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