Issetsu Kuribayashi Kokeshi Dolls

Artisan | Woodworker: Kuribayashi, Issetsu | 1924-2011


Kuribayashi-san was born in Yonezawa city in 1924. In about 1955, he started producing Creative Kokeshi. From Yonezawa City, Kuribayashi-san is considered one of the founding fathers of the Sosaku-Creative movement. His dolls have won every major award given over the years and are featured in the Nuremberg Toy Museum in Germany along with fellow Sosaku artist Watanabe Masao in 1979. Many of his works were one-of-a-kind creations." Yuzuriu", "Mugen" and "Kareha" are all prize winners in the 1960s-70s. In  1970, his work "Mugen" was displayed as representative art of the Sosaku Kokeshi specialization and exhibited at the Government Pavillion of Japan International Exposition. He was the president of Yonezawa Miyuki Association, Member of Nippon Kokeshi Artistic Handicraft Association.

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

Most of his dolls are decorated with floral themes, such as stylized autumn themes, including Kiku, (Chrysanthemum), Daisies, and Ikat fabric designs. His dolls also utilize multiple types of wood, with natural colors, with hand-painting to define the face and clothing.

He enjoys long flowing unbound hair, (taregami), and incorporates traditional hairstyles both with and without hair ornaments, (Kanzashi). The eyes express humility, and his faces typically have a tiny red spot for the nose. Shape and balance are important elements of Japanese style and decoration. These carved and complementing shapes are thought to suggest intuition and inspiration. Additionally, a popular, Mother and Child theme is found in numerous works by various artists including Kuribayashi.

Artist's signature:

Kuribayashi, Issetsu Kokeshi Signature


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