Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

Rare Sosaku Kokeshi Doll by Shibuya, Shinraku entitled: “Abundant Good Fortune”

Shibuya, Shinraku

$160.00

Age:1960s

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 4-1/4” dia x 6-0”h

This Very Rare and wonderfully expressive Kokeshi doll is based on Otafuku, (Okame, 1392-1569), who remains one of Japan's least analyzed yet beguiling figures and considered to be the goddess of mirth who is frequently seen in Japanese traditional drama called Noh. Shinraku, who is a transitional Kokeshi artist has captured her spirit showing expressive eyes, voluptuous lips, and a soft smile symbolizing peace, and long life. Her delineated face has three chin wrinkles indicating the doll represents a worldly woman. From under her hair, she has red pudgy cheeks, and always showed two circular dots on her forehead, with a Buddhist hairstyle reminiscent of the type when the hair was draped down the back of the head. Shibuya, Shinraku’s interpretation with its quirky-yet-captivating expression is extremely entertaining and with her association with the Samuari one sees his addition of the “bullseye (zuboshi) and arrow feathers (Kyudo)" in the background. This all expressed through a simple lathe-form body and sumi-e’ style painted details in black and red ink. The negative space on the doll gives form and volume. It is most interesting that Shibuya continues to use both traditional and creative elements to express his feelings about Japanese life and values. The doll is signed on the back with his name and full details about this creation.

Condition: Excellent for its age with very good detailing, no fading or chipping, and commensurate with age.

NOTE: Transitional artist Shibuya, Shinraku is from Yuzawa City, in Akita Prefecture. Unfortunately, virtually nothing is known about this artist, but most of his creations are minimalistic in design and clean expressive drawn work. He is also a prolific artist of Daruma dolls. 

Japan's active system of belief, with its devotion to gods and spirits and ancient rituals, gave an order to the course of daily life. Otafuku has been part of this scene for a long time. She is always there with a smile and warmth in her heart overseeing the ups and downs of our everyday lives. Her smiling face takes away worry and brings joy. Her chubby cheeks and tiny red mouth nugget convey robust health, earthy simplicity, and greets each new situation with laughter and bright-heartedness. 


Artisan | Woodworker: Shibuya, Shinraku

Origin:

Transitional artist Shibuya, Shinraku is from Yuzawa City, in Akita Prefecture. Virtually nothing is known about this artist, but it is clear that many of his dolls are in the Tranditional Kijiyama-style, which originated in Yuzawa, Minase, and Inagawa cities. Shibuya-san’s dolls range from the bright and beautifully painted, to the skillfully and minimally drawn designs. He is also a prolific artist of Daruma dolls. His work dates from 1960s onward.

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

At New Year’s, most Japanese individuals and corporations buy Daruma dolls and make a resolution for the New Year. The tradition began in the late 17th century as a relief measure for farmers who were suffering from famine.

There are many different styles of Daruma, as you will see by Shibuya’s creations, but there is one philosophy that all Daruma share, and that is the pursuit of beauty and artistry through simplicity. Noted is the fact that the images are placed on a large amount of background, which divides the surface and balances the design with space to appreciate the image. Often seen is the use of black and white paint to create the impression. Additionally, we see the celebration of seasonal successon with the use of Iris, Camellia flowers, and most of all, Bamboo. Artists working in the sumi-e’ style of painting achieve a suggestion of detail by using different intensities of ink and line work. Unpainted areas of the doll give form and volume. It is most interesting that Shibuya continues to use both traditional and creative elements to express his feelings about Japanese life and values.

Artist's Signature: