Miyajima Muhitsu Kokeshi dolls

Artisan | Woodworker: Miyajima, Muhitsu | 1929-


Miyajima-san was born in Yonezawa City of Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, home of many Traditional Kokeshi makers. He began his career under the tutelage of Master Yamagata craftsman Kobayashi, Kichitaro, in the mid-to late 40s, and then switched to Sosaku doll making in the 1950s. His dolls have had a great influence on Creative, (Sosaku), doll makers since then. A multiple award winner, Miyajima-san won the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award in 1973.

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

Simple form and function is the theme to Miyajima-san’s creations. The wood is most critical in his interpretation of the seasons and often incorporates the snow coat called ‘Mino”, which adds depth and character to his pieces. The wearing of the traditional Fuyu Kasa, (hat), of the 1950s is seen on many of his works and was a kind of headcovering for Buddhists, which was overly large, in a bowl or mushroom shape, and was originally made from woven rice straw. Seasonal flowers, (Camellia), are often used along with Plum blossoms and tree branches, (see the two dolls at the top right named "Bairin or Plum Grove"). He typically incorporates sumi-e’ brush work into his representation of faces, and uneven carved grooving giving ornamentation and texture to the figure. Miyajima-san works in a variety of beautiful woods, but seems to prefer the heavy, dark colored Enju wood, (Pagoda tree), for it’s rich colors and interesting grain.

Artist's signature:

Miyajima, Muhitsu Kokeshi signature


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