Antique RARE Japanese Ainu Inspired Kokeshi entitled: Yume | Dream by Miyashita, Hajime

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Dimensions: 11-0”h 

Offered is an EXCEPTIONAL, RARE Ainu-inspired Kokeshi. The rarest element on the Kokeshi being offered is the historic nature of the simulated Festival Garment that focus attention on the representation of the stylistic and expressive graphic design. Textiles with this graphic form typically incorporate embroidery elements into the fabric and are meant to ward off evil spirits. (When cotton became available through trade, the Ainu began to decorate clothes with cotton cloth strips or thread as shown here. These traditional clothes are no longer worn in contemporary daily life. However, it is becoming more common to see traditional Ainu clothing at ceremonies and during song or dance presentations at events).

Beginning with her hair treatment, the head is topped with the ‘mage’ showing the traditional wrapping of hair, which is formed into a pleasing design with a slight indication of bangs and side hair fringes. Her head and face incorporate narrow downturned eyes with delicate eyelashes, a thin nose, and tiny red lips. The painted elements of the face are executed in black and gray sumi-e expressing humility. The doll is made from one piece of Dogwood, (Hanamizuki) leaving a simple lathe-turned form focusing on the outer garment and sash thus differentiating the parts of the figures. The Sash is in high relief and enameled in red. Research from the All Gunma Kindai Kokeshi Association indicates that this piece along with a few other creations by Kokeshi artists was purchased in 1969 by Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako and specifically represented Miyashita-san’s culturally sensitive dolls. The piece is signed by the artist in script on the back with additional identification on the bottom of the doll.

NOTE: For additional information on this artist go to our Browse and Learn section and look up Artisan | Woodworker: Miyashita, Hajime | 1940-2006 rtrd.

Condition: Excellent and retaining the original craft/workmanship. The figure is finished in melted white wax which was applied and polished. The wax prevents the wood from cracking or getting soiled and effectively draws out the oiliness of the wood. This museum-quality figure is exceptionally rare, and only a few such figures are exhibited at the Hokkaido Museum in Japan and are sought after by collectors of this form of folk craft.