Artisan | Woodworker: Okamoto, Usaburo | 1917-2009
Okamoto was the patriarch of the most prolific family of Modern Kokeshi doll manufacturing. Okamoto-san began creating Sosaku dolls in 1950. Winner of many awards, including the Prime Mininster’s Award, his early dolls were mostly hand-carved/painted on the wheel, and there are fewer of those extant. In his later years, however, he began mass-producing a souvenir-style doll (Kindai). He established a museum in Gunma, which his sons, daughters, and extended family now maintain.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
Some of Okamoto’s lathe-turned dolls typically incorporate ribbing of the natural wood to give depth and textural quality. Many of the heads of his dolls are traditional in appearance and made of Dogwood, a lighter colored wood, which creates contrast and is quite painterly in execution. He is also known to twist the form of the body for interest. He incorporates a great deal of seasonal motifs such as cherry blossoms, and falling leaves. Many pieces were done in Paulonia wood.