"Mugen | Cloudland" "Mugen | Cloudland"

Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

"Mugen | Cloudland"

Kuribayashi, Issetsu

Age:Mid 1950

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 12-0” h

The beautifully rendered brush strokes of abstract green clouds on the Kimono, allow the viewer to appreciate the simplicity of his work. The Keyaki wood from which it is made helps to accentuate her serine facial expression and hair detailing.  In Japanese culture, clouds represent elegance and high status. In Buddhism, clouds signify the “Western Paradise” beyond earth; and in Shintoism, the spirits of the dead. This piece won the Prime Minister’s Award for excellence. The piece is signed.

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

Artisan | Woodworker: Kuribayashi, Issetsu | 1924-2011


From Yonezawa City, Kuribayashi-san is considered one of the founding fathers of the Sosaku-Creative movement. His dolls have won every major award given over the years. He began his career in 1955 and is featured in the Nuremberg Toy Museum in Germany along with fellow Sosaku artist Watanabe Masao. Many of his works were one-of-a-kind creations.

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

Most of his dolls are decorated with floral themes, such as stylized autumn themes, including Kiku, (Chrysanthemum), Daisies, and Ikat fabric designs. His dolls also utilize multiple types of wood, with natural colors, with handpainting to define the face and clothing.

He enjoys long flowing unbound hair, (taregami), and incorporates traditional hairstyles both with and without hair ornaments, (Kanzashi). The eyes express humility, and his faces typically have a tiny red spot for the nose. Shape and balance are important elements of Japanese style and decoration. These carved and complementing shapes are thought to suggest intuition and inspiration. Additionally a popular, Mother and Child theme is found in numerous works by various artists including Kuribayashi.

Artist's signature:

Kuribayashi, Issetsu Kokeshi Signature