Japanese Early Hand Carved Traditional Kokeshi | Entitled: Mt. Nangai-cho Woodlands by Matagoro, Yashima

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Dimensions: 12-0”h

Well over two hundred years ago, a Kiji-shi by the name of Matagoro harvested Sugi, (Cedar), in the mountains of Nangai-cho in the Akita Prefecture. He was a highly-skilled carver who enjoyed working with ‘Sugi’, as it was an aromatic, softwood with a very visible grain. His most famous Kokeshi celebrates Mt. Nangai-cho and the Cedar tree that is cherished and protected by all Japanese. His was the first generation Matagoro doll and is believed to be one of his original conceptions of this doll’s shape and simple form. 

This Kokeshi exemplifies a rough hand-carved doll, (not lathe-turned), which is thought to be the forerunner of the Traditional Kijiyama doll. Since the wood was too soft to work on the primitive lathe in use at the time, Matagoro-san carved/chiseled his dolls, until more modern techniques allowed for shaping them on a lathe. The aesthetic difference of his doll is that the suggestion of the Kimono is usually a simple line. Matagoro-san has hand-signed the doll on the back of the form along with his impressed ‘red’ mark.

He later added a Basho Haiku, (Poem), into the front of his creation and when translated reads:

Icy crystals cling to sweet cedar

Branches glimmer in the sun

Winter’s masterpiece

Condition: Commensurate with age, original with no restoration, and as originally crafted.