Vintage Traditional Kokeshi

Vintage Tougatta Traditional Kokeshi by Agatsuma, Kichisuke

$45.00

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 6-1/4” h

This vintage lathe-turned figure is very unusual and represents Fukurokuji, the God of happiness, wealth and longevity. Fukurokuju has an elongated forehead with exaggerated hair flowing out of his forehead and a long moustache. The entire doll is beautifully colored and ornamented, including the back of the doll that has an interpretation of the “rising sun”. Finally, this figure is on a simple, purple stand, carved from the same piece of wood. Agatsuma-san was known for his interpretations of the Seven Lucky Gods, (Benzaiten; Bishamonten; Dikokuten; Ebisu; Fukurokuju, Hotei, and Jurojin) which are always made of Kabanoki, (birch), because it would emphasize carved or painted ornamentation. The Seven Lucky Gods are known in Japan as Shichi Fukujin. Adapted from various Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto gods and saints, they were grouped together in Japanese folklore around the 17th Century. The piece is detailed and signed on the bottom.

Vintage Condition: The doll is in wonderful condition for its age, (“as is”), and retains the original craft/workmanship and commensurate with age. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear, or structural damage is noted. 


Japanese Traditional Kokeshi | Tougatta-Kei (Family)

Prefecture: Miyagi

Origin:

Tougatta dolls are thought to be the oldest family members of the Traditional school. They originated in the Tougatta Onsen in the Miyagi Prefecture, and were subsequently being produced also at Aone Onsen, and the cities of Sendai, and Izumi. In the 1960s, Togatta craftsman founded the Tougatta Kiji Union, a cooperative that was able to gain the rights for reserved wood use from the Japanese Ministry of Forestry. The Tougatta style are easily found by collectors in an interesting range of variations.

Collector's note – characteristics/painting style:

They are easily recognized by their narrow, columnar body shapes, tapering at the shoulders to a head that is wider than the rest of the doll, and more angular than round. Most Tougatta dolls have bangs split in two with side fringes, thin narrow eyes, and a split nose or cat-type nose. Several have paintings of chrysanthemums, (Kiku), plums (Ume), and iris (Ayame), usually in very stylized designs. The dolls decorated with plum branches and blossoms are associated with Aone Onsen. There is also a group which have ‘banded’ bodies. These are decorated in a circular-style painting known as Rokoru Moyo, which is done as the doll is turned on the lathe. Here again, the head is a squeeze-in type, but cannot be turned to produce a ‘squeak’. The head is covered with a painting of a chrysanthemum.

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:

Oohara Masayoshi
Asakura Kinu, b. 1918
Asakura Eiji, Master
Midorikawa Masando, b. 1926
Sato Tetsuro, Grand Master