“Ayame | Iris Blossom” “Ayame | Iris Blossom”

Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

“Ayame | Iris Blossom”

Takahashi, Hajime


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 14-1/2” h

The artist has chosen to use the flower motif of Hanashobu, (iris ensata), which is commonly referred to as the ‘Japanese Iris’. In Japan, the iris has been interpreted as an expression of wisdom, hope, trust, fondness, courage, and admiration. This is why iris flowers are used extensively in the Japanese spring festival for boys. Because of their flower form and amazing colors, Japanese irises have been likened to oversized fluttering butterflies. The use of two different types of wood make this doll especially interesting, and celebrates nature and the iris in its finest. The carved ribbing on the body of the piece gives further dimension to the form. The eyes of the doll are also unusual compared to the typical eye treatment used by this artist. The piece is signed and stamped on the bottom.

Vintage Condition: “as is” with some scattered light wear or stain that does not affect the design, and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage noted. 

Artisan | Woodworker: Takahashi, Hajime | 1918-2002


Originally a fine arts painter, Takahashi-san is from Sendai, (where Traditional Kokeshi were born), in Miyagi Prefecture. His artistic background also includes time spent as a craftsman of Yuzen silk kimono dying. He is a multiple award winner in yearly Kokeshi competitions, receiving the Prime Minister’s Award, the highest honor bestowed on Sosaku Kokeshi artists. All of his work is easily recognized by the painterly designs decorating his dolls. Now deceased, his son, Akinori is carrying on the family’s tradition, but in limited production.

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

The most unusual quality of his dolls is that their heads can be a separate element, or just a simple tapered element at the top of the doll form. The artist motif‘s range from realistic to abstract Plum flowers, (Ume), Cherry blossoms, (Sakura), Japanese Iris, (Ayame), or celebrating seasonal festivals with zodiac animals. Takahashi-san has an unusual way to illustrate kimono in a very painterly way. He shows both the kimono and undergarments, with exaggerated waists and simple obi, if it shows an obi at all. Occasionally seen is his use of Rokuro Moyo in both carved and painted form.

Artist's Signature:

Takahashi Hashime sosaku kokeshi artist signature