Rare Vintage Japanese Yajirou Kokeshi Personal Seal (Hanko) by Takashi Kamata
Dimensions: 8-1/2” h x 3-3/4” dia.
This is an exceptionally wonderful miniature red ink seal that has a stamp with a Kanji that translates as “Wisdom | Humanity”. It was used to place a personal mark on a communication in the place of a signature, in this case an artistic and philosophical form of mark used by a Kokeshi craftsman or merchant.
The seal is contained in a lathe-turned dogwood (mazuki), three-dimemsional, Yajirou style Kokeshi that separates in the middle to expose the seal. The figure follows the designs set forth by the Yajirou family craftsmen having a distinct waist and wider base. The piece has been decorated using a rainbow of colors of red, black, green, and purple. The upper portion has a hand-painted bodice of stylized chrysanthemum petals, separated by Rokoru Moyo horizontal line work. On the bottom are further abstractions of flower pedals. The head has a painted beret-like feature or a bun on the skull, similarly painted with a red and purple circles and a black center spot. It additionally has black hair with bangs and hair side fringes, single lid eyes, a cat shaped nose and small red mouth. The seal is signed on the bottom by Takashi Kamata. When purchased it was presented with a black and red lacquer box decorated with plum blossoms and holds an ink pad.
For additional information on the artist go to: https://mingeiarts.com/collections/yajirou-kei-family
Condition: Excellent and original condition retaining their original craft/workmanship showing and is commensurate with age. The piece meets all the standards of Traditional Yajirou-Kei Kokeshi styling.
Our antique/vintage pieces are identified/described and professionally photographed, and considered, “as is”, therefore all sales are final. Read our full refund and return policy.
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