Rare Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: Mt. Tanigawa by Sato, Tatsuo


Dimensions: 10-0”h

This doll is very rear and a limited edition Kokeshi by Sato-san’s and his love of Mt. Tanigawa, a popular tourist attraction near his home. As with all of his pieces they are wonderfully illustrated with his depiction of the canyon, and waterfall with all the inherent natural elements of winter on the body of these creative Kokeshi. His executes extremely detailed dolls which forces the observer to concentrate on the hand-painted waterfall landscape in brown, gray and black. Arranged in a comprehensive composition, the calligraphy on the body of his Kokeshi are typically short poems, (Haiku), which embody the spirit of Mt. Tanigawa and the wonderful visual experience of seeing Mt. Tanigawa. The poem on the upper portion of the body translates as: “The Earth trembles at Ichi-no-Kurasawa at Mt. Tanigawa”. The town leaders, where the artist resides, give his Kokeshi to visiting dignitaries as a souvenir, (omiyage) and in appreciation for community support .

Although his work falls into the Transitional/Sosaku Kokeshi category, for his creations incorporate both traditional and creative elements. His facial characteristics are based on the Yajirou Family style with black and red colored Rokoru Mayo circular-style painted line work at the top of the head, neck and bottom of the doll. Each painted with a red and black circular lines with a black spot, (head) in the center, while the face has bangs and side fringes with an ornamental decorative motif in red and green framing the face. Typically seen on faces are the one eye lid, and pick shaped nose. The artistically rendered motif of Mt. Tanigawa is a realistic and creative element which is characteristic of all of his dolls. His pieces are highly prized and made on request for they were not created for the general public. The piece is signed on the bottom with the date in pencil, and the name of the mountain on the front side of the doll. 

Condition: Excellent as originally made with no flaws, fading and perfect detailing. The piece was purchased from an estate auction 15 years prior to his death. 

NOTE: Sato, Tatsuo (1928-2009) was born in Yajirou, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture, Tatsuo studied under Master Sato Imasaburo, producing traditional Yajirou Kokeshi. While he remained a traditional Yajirou Artist, he also created some rare Sosaku Kokeshi, for he was an accomplished oil painter and Rukuru-shi, (lathe craftsman).

A further comment about Tatsuo Sato as a transitional Kokeshi artist. Dolls the fall under this category reflect some characteristics of the traditional family motif, particularly with the doll shape, design, facial and hair treatment. The creative vein and variation is standardly seen in the treatment of the body of the doll. These artists are standardly not included in books on traditional or creative artists for their creations are more revolutionary and unique in the overall design.