Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi artist Harumasa Tanaka Dolls

Artisan | Woodworker: Tanaka, Harumasa


Tanaka-san is acknowledged as a leading member of the Sosaku movement in the 1950s-60s, and is a multiple award winner. His doll “Dojo”, (Young Lady), won the Prime Minister’s Award in 1965 at the 12th Annual All Nippon Japan Kokeshi Competition. He additionally was recognized with his creation entitled: Kantsubaki, (Winter Camellia).

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

Tanaka beautifully illustrates the accomplished use of form and un-ornamented surface. The artist uses wood to express feeling, related to the casual hair treatment and abstract, almost 1920s treatment of her haori. Modern thinking young girls loved these abstract flamboyant designs, which transformed their lives and connected them to the West. The most unusual aspect of course is the hair design style, which is uniform in each piece and adds elegance to his interpretation of the figure. His abstract motifs are typically flowers, i.e., poppy in colored lacquer, or the piece is left totally unadorned and relies solely on the carved form. The eyes are most expressive with a simple red dot to express the nose.

Artist's Signature:

Tanaka, Harumasa Kokeshi signature


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