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


Dimensions: 14-3/4”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 a snowy mountain top on the body of this 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, center portion of the body translates as: “The Earth trembles at Ichi-no-Kurasawa at Mt. Tanigawa”. The town leaders, where the artist resides, present 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 delicately black bangs and delicately painted black side fringes. An ornamental decorative spray of red leaves and green berries frame the face. Sato-san’s faces are always shown with one eye brow, "descending eyelid", white pick shaped nose and tiny red mouth. 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, and the name of the mountain in red on the side of the doll. 

Condition: Excellent with no imperfections, no color loss or fading. This is a large museum quality piece that is both unique, unusual and a perfect doll for the collector of Sato-san’s work in the Japanese Kokeshi folk art genre.

Additional Information: Sato, Tatsuo (1928-2009) was born in Yajirou, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture, and 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). This specific doll the fall under the transitional category of Sosaku Kokeshi dolls reflecting some characteristics of the traditional family motif, particularly with the doll shape, design, facial and hair treatment. The Sosaku or creative vein is standardly seen in the treatment of the body of the doll. Artists such as he are not standardly included in books on traditional or creative artists for their creations are more revolutionary for the time and the break common standards of this genre.