Vintage Japanese Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: “Hatsu Hana | First Flower” by Watanabe, Masao | 1917-2007


Dimensions: 14-1/4”h

Shown is a Kokeshi that illustrates an undulating lathe-turned feature from one piece of Birch (Kabonoki). It has an unusual neck and head treatment that compliment the curvatures of the body. The head has deep carving representing the bangs and hair framing the face. She has very expressive eyes and mouth. The artist incorporated one large large cherry blossom deeply carved into the body and emphasized the motif with a pink pigment focusing on this enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life. Inscribed on the bottom of each doll is Watanabe-san’s name and title of the doll. 

Condition: Excellent vintage condition and commensurate with age. There is no loss or fading of artwork/details. After the turning, carving, and painting, the doll is lacquered and sealed with a natural candle wax, (Rosoku no ro). A perfect doll for the collector of Watanabe’s work in the Japanese Kokeshi folk art genre.

NOTE: Watanabe was a master craftsman and teacher to his son Yuki and grandson Kunihiko. We further understand this is one of a series of dolls that have different colored Cherry Blossoms, (Light Pink, Deep Pinkish Red, and White) as the central motif for which varieties are known to change color while they are in bloom.