Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: “Shimoyo | Cold Night” by Murakami, Ken-ichi
The wonderful, textural work is created by deep carving and horizontally-cut lines to reinforce the focus on every part of this doll. It celebrates the child in the life of the Japanese people. As shown in this figure, the practice of cutting the hair in a pinwheel pattern also displays the use of “Chatter Work”, (Birikan’na), to add an extra textural element to the figure. With its youthful hair design and simplicity of the clothing and hair treatment, Ken-ichi-san captures the innocence of youth, with a carved, simple eye treatment, pug nose, and tiny mouth. The wide, carved banding of the sash is standard for this style of doll. The piece has the family stamp/artist mark on the bottom.
Vintage Condition: Pristine, excellent condition affording the doll age-old elegance. Retains the original craft/workmanship showing a wonderfully-developed patina commensurate with age and unrestored. The piece meets all the standards of Sosaku Kokeshi collectibles.
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A multi-award winner, Murakami-san was born in Yamagata City. Though his family were well-known woodcraftsmen, Kenichi studied oil painting in the early 1940s, but began training and creating Sosaku Kokeshi by 1946. He primarily creates dolls with minimal decoration, with an emphasis on a variety of woodworking techniques. He is a multi-prize winning artist including the coveted Prime Minister Award.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
This artist loved to capture the innocence of a young child. Murakami-san prided himself on producing wonderful, textural pieces created by deep carving and horizontal cut lines to suggest and reinforce the subject. His dolls could be painted, like illustrating the yukata, or left unornamented using simple lines to suggest the use of a snow coat, (Mino) during the winter season. Sumi’-e was often employed to capture the spirit of the subject.