Zao-Kei (Family) Zao-Kei (Family)

Zao-Kei (Family)

Prefecture: Miyagi-Yamagata border

Origin:

Atsumi Onsen, at the foot of Mt. Zao, on the Miyagi-Yamagata border, is home to this family of traditional Kokeshi.

Collector's note – characteristics/painting style:

These dolls, originating from, and having characteristics of, the Yamagata strain, are not always easy to identify. With over-sized heads, large, expressive eyes, and thick-waists, they are brightly painted in a variety of colourful motifs. The range of floral designs on Zao bodies include, the more standard stacked, (or layered), chrysanthemum petals; bold, stylized cherry blossoms, peonies, and scattered sprays of small flowers. Most will also have coloured banding at the neck and around the bases of the bodies. Zao Kokeshi have squeeze-in heads, which do not turn, and show elements of the Tougatta dolls. Facial features vary also, with the Atsumi version having a long nose, (naga-bana), much like the Hijiori and Tsuchiyu dolls, and hairstyles similar to the Yamagata.



Notable artists:

Ishiyama Kazuo, b. 1929
Ishiyama Sanshiro, Master
Mito Hiroshi, b. 1933
Umeki Shuichi, b. 1929 — Umeki-san was awarded highest honors in the 42nd National Japan Kokeshi Festival (Matsuri).
Kaneyama Buntaro, Grand Master

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