Vintage Japanese Sosaku Carvings of “Folk Deities” by Suizan, Shinobu (Yokusan, Shizan)


Dimensions: 13-0”h; 7-3/4”h; 5-0”h  

Each of these kokeshi, because of their rarity, is being sold as a set and represents Noh theatre images and Buddhist detailed interpretations on turned and carved wood called, ‘Harusame-bori. Each has distinctly different faces, expressions, positioning, and body motifs giving a textural contrast to the natural Kabanoki, (birch) wood. There are only three artists making this type of doll and none of them paint their dolls.

The standing figure on the left is depicting Hime-daruma and represents the legendary Empress Consort Jingu, the consort to Emperor Chuai, who led Japan between 201 and 269. She has a unique facial expression with her mouth open and is said to be singing a ‘song of celebration’ (which is the title of this doll). She has two auspicious marks called an ‘Urna’, which is a spiral or circular dots placed on the forehead of Buddhist women. On her body are beautifully carved chrysanthemums, (symbolizing royalty, longevity, and rejuvenation) often used as a floral offering which is known as the "Buddhist Flower". The other two are interpretations of Daruma (Bodhidharma), one standing and one cross-legged and meditating wearing the typical flowing robe giving life to each doll. Both are carved on the upper portion of the robe with the inscription “Nintia”, (endurance or patience). After the turning and carving the birch wood figures were finished with a type of natural candle wax,(Rosoku no ro). Each piece is signed in script on the bottom, and has ownership stamps, in one case his red impressed Hanko. 

Suizan-san is a unique artist whose work is unusual and seldom seen, making these dolls quite rare for he made a limited number and specifically for members of his Zen Buddhist Temple for special occasions. Since his goal was not to have attention, no other information is recorded about this artist. For a more complete perspective on this artist visit:

Condition: Excellent condition meaning commensurate with age showing everyday wear and void of cracks, breakage, or repairs, and still retains their distinctive character. Meets the high standards of the collector of the works of Sosaku Kokeshi by the masters.