Traditional Vintage, Rare (Tsugaru-Kei) ‘Nuruyu’ Traditional Kokeshi by Sato, Zenji


Dimensions: 12-0”h

The rarest element of this Kokeshi is that it has “feet” drawn on the bottom of the doll. One rarely sees this type of treatment, because it was considered rebellious by a traditional family of Kokeshi craftsmen. Sato-san, (1925-1985) studied under master Mori, Hidetaro spa, Aomori prefecture.

Nuruyu dolls made their appearance at the Onsen, in the city of Kuroishi, and are considered a rare strain of the Tsugaru family of dolls. In the early Taisho period, after restrictions place by the ruling feudal lords were lifted, body shapes of Tsugaru dolls began to vary considerably with each artist. Tsugaru artists were creating dolls for collectors, rather than staying within the boundaries of the original, typical Kokeshi, which were made as toys.

As seen in this doll, an  extremely tapered body is used and is made of one piece of wood with no joinery involved, turned on the lathe. The only decoration on the body is the Rokoru moyo varied circular banding in red and black. Her head is oval, or what was referred to as ‘egg’ shaped, and displays a more modern hairstyle: a topknot. The hair is painted in solid black with a red circle in the center. Her eyes are extremely painterly, with a marubana, (round nose). An exceptional collectors piece because of the atypical treatment throughout the doll. The doll is signed by the artist.

Condition: Excellent, original condition, with no fading or loss of color and consistent with age and standards of collectible Folk Art. All details are perfect and as crafted.