Vintage Traditional Kokeshi

Vintage Tougatta Traditional Kokeshi by Sakai, Shojiro

$75.00

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 4-1/2” h

This vintage lathe-turned figure is quite unusual, and represents Hotei, the God of abundance and good health, Hotei is depicted as a  “roly-poly” Buddhist monk with an expressive smiling face, big ears, hairy chest, navel, and elements of his encompassing robe. Here he is holding a fan keeping cool in the hot summer. Sakai-san was was an apprentice of Agatsuma, Kichisuke and 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 signed on the bottom of the figure.

Vintage Condition: The figure is in wonderful condition for their 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, 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 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: The short pair of dolls are interpretations of Ebisu (God of the Sea), and Daikoku (God of the Harvest), both made by Sugawara, Satoshi, who apprenticed under Tougatta Master Sugawara, Shoshichi.

Notable artists:

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