Vintage Traditional Kokeshi

Japanese Traditional Kokeshi | Rare Yajirou-Kei (Family) Doll by Hamatsu Heizaburo


b.1960s

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 18-0”h (4lbs)

Offered is an extremely large Yajirou Kokeshi by Hamatsu-san was born in 1933 who is from the small farming village of Yajirou-machi near Kamasaki Onsen in Miyagi Prefecture, once a farming village between two, tall mountains. He studied under the master Niiyama Sanai.

This Kokeshi has distinctly painted waist and slightly wider base, making it very stable. This doll follows the standard of Yajirou dolls in which it has a hand-painted black collar, showing a small amount of the red undergarment. It has horizontal rings circling the waists using what is called Rokoru moyo style, and a tall grass motif on both sides below the waist at the base of the doll. Additionally, the Kimono is shown at the bottom as being partially open with red accents simulating the undergarment which is the only decoration. The dolls shows a painted beret-like feature or a bun on their head, similarly painted with a red center spot. Additionally incorporated is one lid or double eyelids, cat or pick shaped nose. This doll is made of the preferred wood which is white dogwood, (mazuki). The piece is signed on the bottom in script by the artist.

Condition: Excellent and commensurate with age with minimal fading of the motif. Extremely large, heavy doll. A collectors find based on workmanship and size. Fine example of the Yajirou-kei Family of Kokeshi. 


Japanese Traditional Kokeshi | Yajirou-Kei (Family)

Prefecture: Miyagi

Origin:

The creators of these dolls hail from the small farming village of Yajirou-machi near Kamasaki Onsen in Miyagi Prefecture, once a farming village between two, tall mountains. The kiji-shi (woodworkers), divided their time between farming and wood-craft. Those who made kokeshi in their spare time sent their wives to the nearby Kamasaki Onsen to sell their work to tourist shops and through onsens.

Collector's note – characteristics/painting style:

The majority of this style has distinct waists and wider bases, making them very stable. Yajirou dolls are some of the most brightly painted of the traditional family set. Utilizing a veritable rainbow of colours, from the usual red and black to green, yellow, and even blue and purple, they are available in probably the widest range of shapes. The upper body usually has a hand-painted collar with horizontal stripes encircling the body, as in the Rokoru moyo style, and vertical stripes running below the waist to the base of the doll. However, Yajirou dolls can also be found with a series of chrysanthemum petals running down the front of the body, or a branch of plum blossoms as the only decoration. Some, also have a painted beret-like feature or a bun on their heads, similarly painted with a red center spot. Less common are Yajirou that have conical hats known as Suge-Gasa. Typically seen is one lid or double eyelids, cat or pick shaped nose. Yajirou kokeshi have been made from cherry wood, camellia, and maple, but the preferred wood is white dogwood, (mazuki).

NOTE: Both Yajirou ad Togutta dolls are sometimes created with loose rings circling the waists. Literally carved from the same wood as the body, a very meticulous method! This treatment is referred to as 'Yamiyo' style kokeshi. It is also seen on Tsuchiyu dolls, though very rarely.

Notable artists:

Satou Denki, b. 1909
Satou Dennai, Master
Ishikawa Tokujiro, b. 1915
Niiyama Fukutaro, Master
Sato Tatsuro, b. 1928
Sato Imasaburo, Master
Hamatsu Heizaburo, b. 1933
Niiyama Sanai, MasterYajirou
Niiyama Yoshinori, b. 1960
Niiyama Yoshitaro, Grand Master