Traditional Vintage Nambu/Kina Kina Family Kokeshi by Suzumago, Jitsutarou
This is the traditional Kina Kina Kokeshi of the Nambu-kei family by Jitsutaro, Suzumago (b.1908-1984). This doll was styled after what might well be considered the original Kokeshi as it is said they were always unpainted and modeled after a smaller version of the baby’s pacifier or ‘teething’ doll called Kikuriboko, or "Child of Wood" (see the second image of the Mother & Child version comparing the size of the two). The larger version was a doll made for an adult and was modeled after the same body form. As in every case the wood has a very smooth surface and no ornamentation to facilitate its purpose. The Kokeshi has the standard “nodder” head that is snapped onto the body so that they would turn and wobble. With no decoration other than a refined form and a suggestion of an obi on the body. The piece is titled and signed on the base.
See additional writings on our website related to this subject: Under our Browse and Learn section, please refer to https://mingeiarts.com/collections/yajirou-kei-family for full details on the history and development of this style doll.
Condition: Excellent vintage condition and as originally made. Beautiful polished patina developed from age with no flaws. The doll has been published in A Collectors Guide: Traditional and Creative Kokeshi and Toys.
This family of traditional dolls might well be considered the original Kokeshi, as it is said they were modeled after a baby’s pacifier. They originated in the cities of Hanamaki and Morioka, and the Yumoto Onsen in Awate Prefecture. Several shapes of kina-kina continue to be made now in somewhat larger sizes. These have been called Kikuriboko, or, "Child of Wood."
Collector's note – characteristics / painting style:
They started as unpainted ‘teething’ dolls, and the wood would have a very smooth surface. These unpainted versions are called Kina-Kina, and most would have movable heads, similar to the modern “nodders”. The head would be of the snap-on type, attached loosely so that it would turn and wobble. At one point, some Nanbu artists, influenced by the popularity of Narugo and Tougatta dolls, began painting the plain Nanbu-kei with stylized chrysanthemums. These decorated dolls were then called Hanamaki dolls with bangs, side fringes, double eyelids, and cat or round noses. Though these basically plain dolls are not as decorative as others of the traditional school, their unique, flowing forms are stronger visually because of their inherent elegance.
Matsuda Tokujiro (trained by Mokichi Susumago)
Susumago Mokichi, Grand Master