“Tsuru | Cranes” “Tsuru | Cranes”

Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

“Tsuru | Cranes”

Takahashi, Hajime


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 14-0” h

This is one of the most elaborately decorated dolls illustrating Takahashi-san’s painterly talents. The motif focuses on the Japanese red-crested crane. This doll is based on an ancient legend promising good luck and long life. The crane is one of Japan’s most revered symbols. Tsuru are also monogamous, and therefore are often seen on many objects including wedding kimono. Having a paint-artist background his accomplishments are exemplified in this Kokeshi.The crane, being a National Treasure, is a favorite motif used by many artists. Here we see white cranes in flight in a representation of the marshes in the Northern Japan, with a background of multiple warm colors resembling the sunset.  The face is the standard used by this artist with expressive eyes, hair and a red bow on the top of its head. The piece is signed on the bottom.

Vintage Condition: “As is” with some scattered light wear or stain that does not affect the design, and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage noted. 

Artisan | Woodworker: Takahashi, Hajime | 1918-2002


Originally a fine arts painter, Takahashi-san is from Sendai, (where Traditional Kokeshi were born), in Miyagi Prefecture. His artistic background also includes time spent as a craftsman of Yuzen silk kimono dying. He is a multiple award winner in yearly Kokeshi competitions, receiving the Prime Minister’s Award, the highest honor bestowed on Sosaku Kokeshi artists. All of his work is easily recognized by the painterly designs decorating his dolls. Now deceased, his son, Akinori is carrying on the family’s tradition, but in limited production.

Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:

The most unusual quality of his dolls is that their heads can be a separate element, or just a simple tapered element at the top of the doll form. The artist motif‘s range from realistic to abstract Plum flowers, (Ume), Cherry blossoms, (Sakura), Japanese Iris, (Ayame), or celebrating seasonal festivals with zodiac animals. Takahashi-san has an unusual way to illustrate kimono in a very painterly way. He shows both the kimono and undergarments, with exaggerated waists and simple obi, if it shows an obi at all. Occasionally seen is his use of Rokuro Moyo in both carved and painted form.

Artist's Signature:

Takahashi Hashime sosaku kokeshi artist signature