Vintage, RARE Traditional Tougatta Ejiko Doll by Sato Masahiro (b.1938)
Descriptive qualities& condition:
Dimensions: 4-0"h x 2-1/2"dia.
All Ejiko follow the same basic short, rotund style with a separate, upper part of the body, (neck and head), having bangs split in two with side fringes, thin narrow eyes, a split-type nose, and a head covered with a painting of a chrysanthemum. The head is a squeeze-in type, but cannot be turned to produce a ‘squeak’. On the body of the doll are stylized wildflowers as if in they were growing in the woods. It also shows a decorated circular-style painting known as ‘Rokoru Moyo’, which is done as the doll is turned on the lathe. The final unique feature is the natural wood bark that has been retained and used as part of the decoration on the body. The piece is signed on the bottom in the script by the artist.
Tougatta dolls are thought to be the oldest family members of the Traditional School and are found by collectors in an interesting range of variations. Any member of a Kokeshi-making family can make an Ejiko doll, and the doll will still retain the artist’s characteristics of design as applied to the standard, traditional Kokeshi made by the family. The later was accepted by collectors as its own entity, and as a traditional doll in its own right.
Condition: Excellent, beautiful, original condition, with no fading or loss of color and consistent with age. The piece meets all the standards of collectible Folk Art.
Tougatta dolls are thought to be the oldest family members of the Traditional school. They originated in the Tougatta Onsen in the Miyagi Prefecture, and were subsequently being produced also at Aone Onsen, and the cities of Sendai, and Izumi. In the 1960s, Togatta craftsman founded the Tougatta Kiji Union, a cooperative that was able to gain the rights for reserved wood use from the Japanese Ministry of Forestry. The Tougatta style are easily found by collectors in an interesting range of variations.
Collector's note – characteristics/painting style:
They are easily recognized by their narrow, columnar body shapes, tapering at the shoulders to a head that is wider than the rest of the doll, and more angular than round. Most Tougatta dolls have bangs split in two with side fringes, thin narrow eyes, and a split nose or cat-type nose. Several have paintings of chrysanthemums, (Kiku), plums (Ume), and iris (Ayame), usually in very stylized designs. The dolls decorated with plum branches and blossoms are associated with Aone Onsen. There is also a group which have ‘banded’ bodies. These are decorated in a circular-style painting known as Rokoru Moyo, which is done as the doll is turned on the lathe. Here again, the head is a squeeze-in type, but cannot be turned to produce a ‘squeak’. The head is covered with a painting of a chrysanthemum.
NOTE: Both Yajirou ad Togutta dolls are sometimes created with loose rings circling the waists. Literally carved from the same wood as the body, a very meticulous method! This treatment is referred to as 'Yamiyo' style kokeshi. It is also seen on Tsuchiyu dolls, though very rarely.
Asakura Kinu, b. 1918
Asakura Eiji, Master
Midorikawa Masando, b. 1926
Sato Tetsuro, Grand Master
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I recently purchased one of the most beautiful pieces I have purchased in over 10 years. The information you provided was excellent, the piece is in mint condition as advertised, with a subject matter I did not have in my collection.
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Another great Kokeshi book edition. I was thrilled to see many of the Kokeshi in my collection in your book. I even found a few that I still had not been able to identify, it was nice to finally know the artisans behind my wonderful collection.
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After we purchased the first one, we fell irresistibly in love
We started collecting Kokeshi only a short time ago with the expert guidance of Michael and Robert. Beginning with a goal of three or four dolls for each of our granddaughters, we almost immediately changed our goal after we purchased the first one and fell irresistibly in love with this Japanese folk art.
We have amassed a small collection that we display proudly.
In spite of our limited background and only a little research to support our evaluation, Sosaku Kokeshi: A New Look at an Old Tradition is a magnificent work on the subject of these wooden dolls which make up a segment of the folk arts of Japan. The detailed background materials on the artists and the notes on the dolls can be an invaluable part of one’s collection. The marvelous photography is an excellent complement to the text, as we re-viewed the images many times, envying the owner of each doll.
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Delightful Kokeshi book
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