Vintage Soskau Kokeshi Dolls by woodworker Aoki Ryoka

Artisan | Woodworker: Aoki, Ryoka

She was born in Gunma prefecture in 1931. Her real name is Toshiko. "Ryo" of her pseudonym was taken from the name of her teacher Mr. Ryoshu Nozawa who is a painter of Japanese-style pictures. In about 1958, she started the work of Creative Kokeshi. Eight pieces of her works were bought by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess in 1975 and 1983. The prize winner in 1975; of the Minister of Education for "Hana Tenshi". In 1977 she won the Japan-Taiwan Cultural Exchange Prize. In 1980 and 1981 she received the Prize of Minister of International Trade and Industry. In 1981 the Prize of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Fishery. Member of the Nippon Kokeshi Artistic Handicraft Association.

Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:

Shown in the images above are two traditional subjects made into Sosaku Kokeshi. The figure on the right, entitled, “Hime Daruma | Female Daruma”, is modeled after Bodhidharma, and is a female manifestation of this religious figure. It was not unusual to find just the face of Hime Daruma, surrounded by seasonal flowers and artistically incorporated into Sosaku Kokeshi.

The figure on the left, “Mangetsu | Full Moon”, is of a young girl or “Chuushuu no Meigetsu”, also called Jugoya, the night of the full August moon, in early autumn. The images on her kimono speak of the fall and the use of pampas-like grass, (Sesuki), in the various celebrations. Ancient Japanese had a custom of worshiping the full moon, for it was believed that a full moon was a symbol of a rich harvest.

Artist's Signature:

Aoki, Ryoka Kokeshi artist signature


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