Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi Entitled: Yukugo ‘Just from the Bath’ by Shiramine Hakuhou


Age:1960s

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 13-0”h

Yukata, a casual version of the Kimono has become an inspiring subject in all forms of art, and particularly in Kokeshi doll making. Kokeshi dolls have traditionally been sold at Japanese Inns/baths referred to as Ryokans and in onsen towns producing scenes reminiscent of past centuries. This type of doll became very popular with Kokeshi woodcarvers because it was a type of souvenir that was purchased by Japanese guest and taken home.

This rare and unusual Kokeshi is made of dogwood and displays a Yukata plaid graphic pattern, and incorporates a unique wide belt or sash simulated in wood, and accented with a vertical stripe motif. Expression is given to the face with the use of small sleepy eyes and a dot nose. On this particular Kokeshi, the ‘bob’ hair design with bangs illustrates the diversity of individual taste of the period. Ryokans with an Onsen always provided Yukata to guests and also sold them in their shop with a design that was identified to that specific establishment. This doll was sold in their shop, and made by a local artist but, there is no indication of the artist. The piece came from the Kitagawamura Onsen | “Yuzu no Yado”, Tottori Japan, and purchased in the late 1960s. This doll was featured in A Collector’s Guide: Traditional and Creative Kokeshi and Toys. The doll is signed on the body by Shiramine Hakuhou with the Onsen stamp.

Condition: Excellent original condition with no chipping, cracking, or discoloration.

NOTE: The name Yukata comes from the word ‘yu’, (bath), and ‘Katabira’, (undergarment) made of cotton, linen, or hemp. Yukata or bath clothes are worn after bathing in a communal bath, functioning as a quick way to cover the body and to absorb the remaining moisture. This all began over 1,000 years ago when people wore it to-and-from the bath.  Yukata is a garment that the Japanese have invested a great deal of ingenuity in developing, as it is an ideal casual wear for bathing. It was specifically worn in the hot and humid summers as a cooling garment. Yukata typically show a range of motif from solid bright colors, large and small seasonal floral designs, kanji characters, fans, wave & sea designs, clouds, dragons, and geometric designs.