Vintage Japanese Sosaku Kokeshi by Yusa, Fukuju
This vintage Sosaku Kokeshi is entitled: Hoshu, “Treasure World”, and a very rare and unusual doll that is very plainly designed, and employs intricate ‘Harmonic Chatter’ work, (Birikan’na) to define the more traditional style hair, in which cutting or shaving the hair on the scalp in a pinwheel-pattern called ‘Tonsure’, and is a sign of religious devotion or humility. Its face shows a simple expression with narrow eyes and a black nose in shallow relief. We have seen very few of his Kokeshi of this type along with his portraying children since he was not a prolific carver and doll typically decorated with black, multi-colored sections or gold graphics on the body. The smooth undulating surfaces defining the head, and neck body add to the simple character of the doll, bringing focus to the central motif. This particular model incorporates the use of sumi-e’ painting in black with gold accents. This particular doll was created very early in his career and is a 1960s award-winning doll in the National Kokeshi competition. He produced several others in the 1970s but these were done for special occasions and for individual clients.
This is turned from one piece of Pear, (Nashi) wood, and after the turning and painting were lacquered and sealed with a natural candle wax, (Rosoku no ro). A perfect doll for the collector of Yusa’s work in the Japanese Kokeshi folk art genre. The piece is signed on the bottom by the artist.
Condition: Excellent condition means that the piece has no fading, cracks, or repairs and is in original condition and consistent with the age and standards of collectible Kokeshi Folk Art.
Additional Information: Access our Browse & Learn section, link: https://mingeiarts.com/collections/artisan-woodworker-yusa-fukuju-1930-2001 to learn more about this award-winning Sosaku Kokeshi artist.
Born in Miyagi Prefecture to a very prominent family of Traditional Narugo Kokeshi artists, Yusa-san had a hard time separating himself from the dolls his family produced. While he apprenticed under Master Takashashi Sakari of Narugo Spa, Miyagi, he began creating Sosaku dolls in the late 1950s. In breaking family tradition, he created award- winning dolls, including the Prime Minister’s Award in 1960, at the age of 30.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
Yusa-san’s dolls are very plainly designed, and all employ ‘Chatter’ work defining the hair, and are typically decorated with the black, multi-colored sections or gold graphics. The smooth undulating surfaces add to the simple character of each doll, bringing focus to the central motif. He also portrays young children, many wearing one common article of clothing called a "Kakumaki", which is a winter shawl used throughout the Northern part of Japan, to keep out the chill. Most of his pieces illustrate expressive faces through the use of sumi-e’ painting, or illustrate clothing that is colorfully detailed. His award winning doll on the left include graphics that symboliz “Hoshu” the Treasure World. The dolls shown are versions of his 1960 award-winning doll in the National Kokeshi competition.