Sosaku Kokeshi | “Crying Child” | 20th/c

The art and tradition of Kokeshi dolls dates back to the early 1800’s, in the Tohoku area of Japan, with Sendai being the heart of the region. The original use of these small wooden dolls is thought to be spiritual in nature but popular opinion holds that Kokeshi were originally made by farmers for their children, and later by woodworkers, known as kijiya, who made and sold the decorated dolls as souvenirs at Onsens.

This Kokeshi is aptly named, as it is based on a Japanese proverb: “A crying child thrives.” The complexity of a child’s cries offer a scientific basis for this folk wisdom, and is represented in many forms of folk art throughout Japan. It’s eyes and mouth are wonderfully expressive with emotion.

This doll has beautiful and meticulous detailing (The decoration on the body of the doll is in a circular-style painting is known as Rokuru moyo, which is done as the doll is turned on the lathe.) with simple coloration representing the kimono and obi. It is unsigned and dated early 20th/c. Dimensions: 7-1/8” h.

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