Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: “San'en no byōsha | Three Wise Monkeys” by Miyajima, Muhitsu


Dimensions: 6-0"h (each doll)

Japanese Buddhist monks in China brought the proverb, “mizaru, kikazaruin, iwazaru” to Japan, which led to the association of the saying of the ‘three wise monkeys’, which were often represented in Buddhist sculptures. They are said to be companions of the folk deity, Shōmen-Kongō. The proverb means ‘hear not, say not, see not’. The “Three Wise Monkeys,” were additionally depicted throughout Japanese temple architecture, representing the Confucius principle of the ‘things that one has done wrong in the last 59 days’, encouraging the citizenry not to experience the bad deeds of others.

Shown is a very rare set of three wooden, abstract representations of “Maiko”, (woman of dance), dressed in beautifully- formed wooden Kimono. These were made specifically to fit together as a set, to complement the historic saying known in many countries. Miyajima-san, in this case, preferred to work in heavy, dark Enju wood, (Pagoda Tree), because of the rich colors and expressive grain. Each doll is crafted to make it appear as if the exterior clothing is a separate element from the body with its expressive face. Each doll is individually signed. 

Vintage Condition: Pristine, excellent condition affording the doll age-old elegance. Retains the original craft/workmanship showing a wonderfully-developed patina commensurate with age and unrestored. The piece meets all the standards of Sosaku Kokeshi collectibles.