Vintage Japanese Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: “Chikurin | Bamboo Grove” by Masao, Sato

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Dimension:  14-0”h

Offered is one of the largest Sosaku Kokeshi produced by this artist. It is entitled:  Chikurin | Bamboo Forest”, and although this Kokeshi is categorized as Sosaku, the foundation of the doll is inspired by the traditional Tougatta style, with accents on the eyebrows and upper eyelids, teardrop nose and expressive red lips. The head also follows the Tougatta family with a relatively large head made of dogwood, (mizuki), with a clean and simplified body. 

An interesting feature of the carving is the treatment of the Obi which is simply a deep groove carved into the solid wood body. Another Sosaku feature is the motif, which represents bamboo leaves, artistically done in black, grey Sumi-e’ drawing and white accents. Sato-san also emphasizes the natural color and wood pattern, and finished with a natural colored candle wax, (Rosoku no ro). The piece has the artists script signature on the bottom of the doll and the title on the lower front of the dolls body. 

The Haiku was inspired by Monk Ryōkan and is executed in an exuberant style of brush writing — incorporating the stylistic interpretations of bamboo leaves, which earned Ryōkan esteem as one of the great Zen monks calligraphers of all time. The Haiku extolling the virtue of bamboo loosely translates: “There is a bamboo grove around my house. Be my friends, and stand about my retreat throughout eternity”.

Condition: Excellent condition for the piece is perfect, with no chipping, missing elements or loss of artwork/color which is beautifully defined. It retains a beautiful finish, with its original craftsmanship preserved. This kokeshi meets the standards of the collector of transitional kokeshi that incorporates both traditional and creative elements into its design. 

Additional Information: This Biographical information was just uncovered in 153 page publication entitled: Hoikusha in 1969, and that was only published in Japanese and distributed to the enthusiasts on that small island. Masuo Sato was born on December 18, 1945 in Togatta Shinchi, Miyamura, Katta-gun and passed away in 1999. He was trained to be a Kiji craftsman, (woodworker) with his father Jihei. At the same time, he became an apprentice at the Kitaoka factory, and learned how to make wood and planers. After his father, Jihei, died in 1952, he continued to be a wood craftsman in Kitaoka, and specialized in toys. In 1958, he began to design and craft Sosaku Kokeshi dolls. He discontinued his craft In 1966 at 70 years of age.