Vintage Japanese Miniature Takasago Sosaku Kokeshi


Dimensions: 4-1/2” and 3-1/2”h

Shown are two lathe-turned miniature figures of an elderly couple in full traditional costume for which the figures represent the basic concept behind the actions of an old woman who sweeps away all the bad that was left behind and an old man who gathers with his rake all that has been good and desirable. Additionally, they represented longevity, fertility, and marital happiness.

One of Japan’s oldest folk tales is the legend of the contented couple and continues to be performed in the Noh Theater by the same name. The elderly man is called Jou and the elderly woman Uba, and as a couple, they are called Jotomba. Deeply devoted in life, the old couple passed away within moments of each other and their spirits were transformed into pine trees: Juo a black pine and Uba a red pine, which accounts for the coloration, (black and red), of the garment worn by the two miniature Kokeshi. Each is accented with gold hand-painted details to ornament the clothing worn by each doll. Both figures are beautifully detailed in a balance of traditional and contemporary motifs. Juo is carrying an abstract rake, and Uba has her abstract broom. Both heads are beautifully formed with detailed facial features. They are unsigned and usually given as a token gift to friends who became a couple, or family members who were celebrating togetherness. 

Condition: Excellent and commensurate with age, natural patination of the wood. No dents or restoration.