Vintage Traditional Kokeshi

Nakanosowa-Kei (Family) | Saito, Tokuju

$75.00

b.1926

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 9-3/4” h

This doll represents a sub-strain of the Tsuchiyu doll. The face was so distinctive that it was given its own identity. The face being the distinguishing feature always incorporates the Bikkuri-me, (surprised eyes) with blushes around the eyes, and the Shishi-Bana, (lion’s nose), and a unique mouth. The elongated thin body incorporates the Rokuru-Moyo horizontal lines framing realistic and abstract flowers on the top portion of the kimono an abstract impression of a garden. The dominant color is red, with some accents of green. It shows black concentric circles on the top of the head called Jano-me, together with a red bow and a loop on the sides of the temporal head, (Kase). The doll is signed.

Vintage Condition: This doll shows some discoloration on the body which is typical of an older doll, and is sold “as is” with some scattered light wear or stain. It does not affect the design, and retains the original craft/workmanship, and commensurate with age. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage is noted. 


Nakanosowa-Kei (Family)

Prefecture: Fukushima

Origin:

The Nakanosawa doll is a member of the Tsuchiyu family. However, it is so obviously different from the rest of this family that it warrants its own description. This distinctively painted traditional doll was originally created by Iwamoto Zenkichi, in Nakanosawa Onsen, in the town of Inawashiro, Fukushima Prefecture. How they came to be created is a wonderful story. It is said that a street dancer named Iwamoto Kenichi and performed a fast tempo foot dance called a "Kappore" fore which which he gave dancing lessions to local geisha girls. He created a Kokeshi doll copied after a pillow that he used in this dance. The painted pillow from which his Kokeshi doll had facial features as well as painted bold flower patterns. His audience was soon so taken with his dance with the pillow that they asked for a doll to be made with these special features and nicknamed affectionately as a "Tako Bouzu" with characteristic large popping eyes and bold flower design.

Collector's note – characteristics / painting style:

In the beginning, the doll was made of papier maché. When Kenichi’s son began to produce the doll, it was made like the rest of the traditional Kokeshi, but retained the large, expressive eyes, over-sized head, and reddish to pink blush on each cheek, similar to that painted on the pillow. The dolls also had a very different nose, with flared nostrils, much like a lion’s nose (shishi-bana). They were usually painted in the style of the rest of the Tsuchiyu Kokeshi, with the Janome rings painted on their heads and Rokoru bands on the tall, thin and tapering bodies.

One of the more unique features still found on Nakanosawa dolls, however, are the large, open peonies, which people claim were originally inspired by the tattoos that the Geisha sported.

These dolls also have been given the humorous name of “Tako Bozo”, which translated means “an octopus with a monk’s shaven head”. After the death of Kenichi’s son Yoshizou, a group of craftsmen kept the making of the Nakanosawa doll alive. While considered a sub-strain of the Tsuchiyu Kokeshi, these beguiling dolls have a special attraction to collectors because of their history.

Nakanosawa family kokeshi style

Notable artists:

Seya Kouji, b. 1952
Kakizaki Fumiio, b.1947
Arakawa Youicihi, b. 1938
Sanbe Haruo, b. 1929
Takahashi, Takeo, Master
Seya, Juji, Master, b. 1924
Iwamoto Yoshizo, Grand Master