Sekiguchi, Sansaku | Sosaku Kokeshi | “Jin” Actor

Sekiguchi-san, (born in 1925-), is the only artist who has been certified as a Master of Creative Kokeshi dolls, by the Japanese Government, and has opened his own Museum in Gunma Prefecture, Northwest of Tokyo. Born in Shibukawa city in Gunma-den, Sanaku and his two sons, Toa and Toshio, his Daughter Izumi and son-in-law have produced many award-winning dolls, with Sansaku himself winning awards for more than 50 of his dolls alone. He has, in fact, won the Prestigious Prime Minister’s Award on three different occasions. One of his dolls is on permanent display at the Kerkira Oriental Art Museum in Greece. While his Kokeshi ware considered very modern, Sansaku trained as a traditional artist from 1951 to 1957 before focusing on Sosaku Kokeshi. Along with fellow Sosaku Kokeshi artist Watanabe Masao, he no longer has to submit his work for pre-juried exhibitions. The doll is in excellent condition, no fading or dings, with artist seal on the back. Dimensions: 10-1/4”h x 3-0”dia.

Additional Information — Creative | Sosaku Kokeshi Defined

Sosaku Kokeshi are also referred to as the “Creative” form of the dolls. Unlike the traditional dolls, which are based upon very representative styles coming from specific regions and families in Tohoku, the “Creative” dolls are a lot less focused on history and more on expressiveness and storytelling. These forms have a much more recent history, originating early in the 20th century as a reflection of the change in society and attitudes toward artistic expression. While many “Creative” Kokeshi artists trained as Traditional craftsmen, they were not limited by strict guidelines, so materials, shapes and decorative motifs became much more individualized to the specific artist style and desire to experiment with sculptural forms.

Undeniably, the Sosaku versions of Kokeshi, because of the wide range of differing shapes, motifs, and inherently singular characteristics, are appealing to a broader audience of collectors of folk-art expression, not only in Japan, but also in Europe and America. Also, the lack of adherence to “Traditional” requirements has allowed the individual artists to display their unique skills by maximizing the use of beautifully-grained woods in a manner that emphasizes, in many cases, the texture of the wood itself.

While there are many purists who only collect “Traditional” Kokeshi, (Dento), exclusively, we find that today many lovers of these delightful folk dolls are beginning to combine both styles, perhaps to appreciate the differences therein, and quite possibly to gain a better understanding of their evolution from the original forms.

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