Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi by Suizan Shinobu entitled: “Haniya Oni”

Suizan, Shinobu


Age:Early 1970s

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 12-0” h

This figure is executed in dogwood and carved to honor Oni, a kind of yōkai, demon, or ogre in Japanese folklore. He is typically portrayed as a hulking figure with one or more horns growing out of his head. The creature was introduced from China along with Buddhism feeling that they can nevertheless be converted to Buddhism and a symbol of protection. Japanese people believe that Oni possesses intriguingly complex aspects that cannot be brushed away simply as evil. It is carving giving life to the body of the piece. The doll is signed on the bottom.

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

Artisan | Woodworker: Suizan, Shinobu (Yokusan, Shizan)


Creative Kokeshi Transitional artist Suizan is known to be from the Tohoku region, but there is no other information found on this artist. Some of his Kokeshi are similar to the Traditional Tougatta-style dolls. His style of carving is called Harusame-bori.

As collectors we felt it was most important to represent all Sosaku Kokeshi artists, whether or not the artist has a written account of his or her life. Each show the diversity of this cultural specialization and the creative work produced by this artist.

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

Separating the subject from the background gives solidity and definition, which supports the carving on his lathe-turned dolls. Suizan works only in Kabanoki, (Birch) or Mizuki, (Dogwood), and never paints any of his dolls. Images range from Noh theatre images, Daruma, (folk diety), the devil, chrysanthemum, and autumn flowers. He often carves the kanji for ‘Patience” into his pieces. He is a unique artist whose work is unusual and seldom seen, and is one of only three artists who do not paint their dolls.

Artist's Signature:

Suizan Shinobu (Yokusan, Shizan) signature kokeshi