Yashima Matagoro Kokeshi Dolls Vintage

Artisan | Woodworker: Matagoro, Yashima


Well over two hundred years ago, a Kiji-shi by the name of Matagoro harvested Sugi, (Cedar), in the mountains of Nangai-cho in the Akita Prefecture. He was a highly-skilled carver who enjoyed working with ‘Sugi’, as it was an aromatic, softwood with an evident grain. His most famous Kokeshi celebrates Mt. Nangai-cho and the Cedar tree that the Japanese love. His ancestors created what was the first generation Matagoro doll which is believed to be one of his original conceptions of this doll’s shape and simple form. The doll on the left is the original Matagoro. The doll on the right is the vintage Matagoro.

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

He created a very rough form of a doll, which is thought to be the forerunner of the Traditional Kijiyama doll. Since the wood was too soft to work on the primitive lathe in use at the time, Matagoro-san who is 7th generation carved/chiseled his dolls, until more modern techniques allowed for shaping them on a lathe. The aesthetic difference between his doll is that the suggestion of the Kimono is usually a simple line. He later added the three symbols of ‘Sho-Chiku-Bai’ to highlight the obi. Finally, he enjoyed incorporating Haiku, (Poems), into his creations.

Artist's signature:

Matagoro, Yashima Kokeshi Signature


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