Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: “Akikaze | Autumn Wind” by Sato, Suigai (1920-)
This beautiful Kokeshi exhibits both traditional elements such as the line work defining the peaceful female face and the hairstyle. Contemporary elements such as the handling of the wheat motif is found on many of Sato- san’s dolls.
This design is framed with black lines, (Rokuro Moyo), on darker, stained ash to define the decorative Obi. He utilizes an uncolored, natural ash wood, (Kaibin) with refined lathe turning to define the various elements of the head, the top of the Kimono, and the three sections of the body, all made from the same piece of wood. Sato-san created a simple and wonderful form that defines this three-dimensional figure and employs color only to define the textured hair, her small lips, and the Obi, allowing each element to add a decorative component to the overall figure.
The bottom of the doll shows the remnants of a faded red stamp, which was regularly used to identify the artist with the notation “Kokeshi ni Japan”, in graphite. (The impression below the motif on the Obi, most likely represents the original standard impression found on his dolls).
Sato-san, also known as Sadahachi, was born in Okubo, Yoshioka Village, Gunma Prefecture, to a family who owned a silk trading business. At the age of 18, he began his professional career as a painter under famous artist Komuro, Suiun, before pursuing a career in creative Kokeshi making in 1948. Sato-san also pursued careers in fashion design, engineering, and mechanics. His Kokeshi dolls have won many awards, including the Prime Minister’s Award in 1966. In 1970, Sato-san’s artistry was recognized by Japan’s Imperial Family, Crown Prince Akihito, (Now Emperor Akihito), the Minister of Economy and Trade, and the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
What is unique to this artist’s dolls is the unusual but traditional hairstyle, the wheat, summer grass, bamboo, (symbolizing prosperity, purity, and innocence), plum blossoms, and abstract leaves. In many instances he utilizes an uncolored wood obi on both plain and vividly colored Kimono. He additionally incorporated ‘Stilt grass’, which is most commonly found in moist areas of wetlands. He also enjoyed representing ‘Kyoho budo’, (giant mountain grapes). Occasionally he incorporated pine, plum, and bamboo, referred to as “sho-chiku-bai”. Sato-san created many wonderful simple forms. The artist regularly captures a peaceful nature in his dolls faces, complementing the serene nature that fills the countryside. And finally, we see Sato-san creating very large Kokeshi, made in two separate sections from the same piece of wood. The motif on the body represent the family crests, (Mon).