Vintage Japanese Sosaku Kokeshi by Yamanaka, Sanpei entitled: “Sekishun” | Lamenting the Passing of Spring
Dimensions: 8-1/2” h
The technical ability to carve a doll from one piece of wood still give character to the differing elements of this creation. Yamanaka is known for his rustic designs and pyrographic detailing emphasizing the wood from which it is made.
The most common feature is the use of unpainted ‘Rokuro moyo’ horizontally carved line work, which is incorporated on both the body as well as to define the black hair and “Mage”, (top knot) hairstyling. The face and red nose carry the feeling of impishness. Yamanaka’s Kokeshi are highly sought after by collectors all over the world. He won the prestigious 'Prime Minister Award' in 1979. The piece is signed in red on the bottom of the doll by the artist.
For additional information on the artist go to: https://mingeiarts.com/collections/artisan-woodworker-yamanaka-sanpei-1926
Condition: Excellent and beautiful condition retaining the original craft/workmanship showing a wonderfully-developed natural wood patina and is commensurate with age. The piece meets all the standards of Sosaku Kokeshi styling.
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Born in Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture, Yamanaka-san began his artistic career as a photographer, after majoring in chemistry. However, rather than develop a career in Traditional Yamagata doll making, Yamanaka-san used his art background to join the Sosaku Kokeshi movement. A multiple award winner, he won the Ministry of Education Award at the all Nippon Modern Kokeshi Exhibition in 1979.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
Yamanaka-san creates wonderfully painted and decorated dolls in many forms and shapes. He may utilize a palette of soft watercolor rings in the Rokuro-moyo manner, to create a suggestion of a rainbow, because in Buddhism, the rainbow is “the highest state achievable before attaining Nirvana, where individual desire and consciousness are sublimated”. On numerous occasions, Yamanaka adds painted flowers to add to the overall dimension of the garment that it is representing. This is not to say that he does not enjoy the natural qualities of wood. Controlled carving adds textures that are neat, random, and sometimes repetitive, and provides decoration to his dolls. The carving contrasts nicely with the natural grain of the wood. Dolls portray wonderful traditional hairstyles through the use of “chattering’ and controlled carving. His head and facial designs are most expressive, particularly with figures of children.