Vintage Japanese Sosaku Kokeshi | Sumi-e Zodiac Motif “Year of the Horse” | Signed: Sato, Kouson | 1970
This creative kokeshi is vintage, and illustrates the noble four-legged animal called Uma in Japanese. The horse had inhabited Japan for about one thousand years, and has in the past been indispensable, contributing much in bringing Japan’s economy back on track. During the Edo period, (1600-1867), the horse was used for transportation, agricultural work, equestrian events/sports, and for military purposes. The horse image is found in homes, and represents the seventh, (7th), sign in the Japanese Zodiac, and is given to those who were born during this time frame. Along with this wonderful doll, an out-of-print book entitled, “Year of the Horse”, is included in this sale. The book/journal is a collection of legend and lore, combining mythology, folk tales, and classic literature. The guide explores what astrology has to say about people born under the sign of the Horse; giving those with no previous knowledge of the subject a practical means of finding out their own astrological profile. Condition: Both the doll and padded hardcover book are in excellent, like new condition. The Kokeshi is signed by the artist. Dimensions: 9-0”h. Perfect gift for a person who collects creative kokeshi, or someone born in the Year of the Horse (uma) – 1906 1918 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014 2026 2038
Sato, Kouson is one of the few female creative Kokeshi makers recognized as an accomplished artist who worked out of her studio in Fukushima-ken, Kuwaori-machi. This was in the heart of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastation area of Fukushima Prefecture. Since that a time she has not been seen, and is thought to have been lost along with her studio and extensive collection. We know that Kouson rendered all of the zodiac animals but have only seen one other piece in 23 years, which was a Sumi-e “Year of the Tiger” Kokeshi measuring 14-0”h.
Sumi-e is the Japanese word for Black Ink Painting. Emphasis is placed on the beauty of each individual stroke of the brush. The Asians speak of “writing a painting” and “painting a poem.” when using sumi-e. A great drawing was judged on three elements: the calligraphy strokes, the words of the poetry, (often with double meanings and subtle puns), and the ability of the painted strokes to capture the spirit, (Kana), of nature rather than a photographic likeness.