Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

Japanese Traditional Yukinko, (Snow Child) Kokeshi | Minomuchi, (Snow Cape) Signed Tokichi

Unknown Artist


Age:Early 1950s

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 10-0”h

This Kokeshi is of a school girl wearing an unusual straw outer-wrapping called a “Minomushi”, which is an article of clothing worn to protect rural people of the mountains from rain and snow. The “mino” on this doll is made of straw and in this case authentic with a wonderful indigo Boro wrapped edging, which is class of Japanese textiles which were woven by peasant farmers and made from cotton and hemp materials. Incorporated is a simple but authentic bow that ties the coat onto the figure. The head is beautifully rendered in red and black simulation of hair with side hair fringes and bows framing the top of the head and face. The face has a simple expression with a white nose and red lips.

Today we see contemporary models made by Sosaku craftsmen such as Shido, Shouzan whose coat is made of wood and incorporates what is called, ‘Harmonic Chattering’ to assimilate, and enhance the natural qualities of the woodgrain on his dolls of this type. This doll is the precursor of later models of this type made by the creative group of wood carvers. On the body is a classical Japanese verse, (Sarumino), by Basho executed in a white ‘sumi-e’ like calligraphy. The piece is lathe-tired and made of natural barked birch wood. The piece is unsigned/unknown, but thought to have been made by a local carver known as Tokichi, but no other information is available on this carver. 

Condition: Excellent and exceptional doll, commensurate with age with no seen imperfections and particularly that the coat is made of a very delicate straw material. Wonderful workmanship and preservation of an older doll before Kokeshi became fully established. This is an exceptional historical piece not only related to the origins of Kokesh but the fact that it is costumed in rural dress of a particular time and group of people.