Unusual Japanese ‘Rattler’ Yajirou Kokeshi by Niiyama, Keimi (b.1925)

Sale price$160.00
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Dimensions: 12-1/4”h

This VERY unusual Kokeshi is rare because it it a ‘Rattler’ by a prize-winning woodworker who studied under Yajirou Kokeshi Master Sato, Meiji, who was associated with the Shirabu Spa/Onsen and Yamagata, Japan. Niiyama has won numerous recognitions and prizes for his accomplishments which begin in the mid-40s until the end of his life. There is no biographical information on this artist nor do we know the year he passed away. 

The most recognizable feature of this “Rattler” Kokeshi, is its large head that is hollow and filled with rice, (gara iri), which creates a gentle sound when it is shaken. The top of the head shows red, purple rings with a red center spot on a black background that represents hair. The head has painted beret-like feature with side-hair fringes framing the face. The face is detailed with expressive one lid or double eyelids, cat nose and red lips. This Yajirou utilizes Rokoru moyo style horizontal lifework of veritable rainbow of colors, from the usual red and purple bands on the center portion of the body as well as circulating the neck and base of the body. The upper body indicates simple brush stokes in red simulating the kimono collar on the bodice. Finally there is a large abstract chrysanthemum on the bottom of the figure and abstract petals on the back of the doll. The doll is lathe-turned from one piece of Dogwood. The piece has the acknowledgement on the base in beautiful script and signed by the artist.

Condition: Excellent, original condition, with no fading or loss of color and consistent with age and standards retaining the original craft/workmanship showing a wonderfully-developed patina. The piece meets all the standards of Traditional Yajirou Kokeshi collectibles.