Vintage Japanese Sosaku Kokeshi "Fude" | Brush set by Shouzan, Shido


Dimensions: 17-1/2”h; 16-0”h

This piece was inspired by a Sumi-e drawing brush and was the basis for this unusual Shouzan-san design in Kokeshi form and a tribute to a village named Arima which is famous for calligraphy brush designs. The Fude, or brush, has been integral to Japanese culture since the introduction of standardized writing systems from the continent of Asia in the fifth century. The Art of Shodo, (calligraphy, employing Japanese kana characters), has been held in high esteem, and become “a powerful way to inculcate the values of Bushido”, and a means of communication, as well as the Zen practice that evokes harmony and wisdom. 

These interesting doll forms are minimalistic, and use the natural wood to its full potential. Representing a short shaft brush, it shows a simulation of upside-down bristles representing the doll's black hair, with simple serene, and calm Sumi-e executed faces and traditional side hair fringes. Both kokeshi stands out for the natural color of the wood with visible grain and thick staffs, with a tapered simulated brush shape. Each has calligraphy on the front of the bodies with the tallest doll on the left interpreted as “Arima”, with the one on the right with a poem about this famous “village of brushes". This pair is an original work by award-winning kokeshi artist Shido Shouzan  (1932-1996). Born in  Oita Prefecture, he began making kokeshi in 1957 and is considered by collectors to be one of the most influential artists in the world of creative kokeshi. Each with Shouzan’s red impressed stamp on the side of the largest figure and his signature on the right doll. 

 See additional writings on our website related to this subject: Under our Browse and Learn section, please refer to for full details on the history and development of his work.

Condition: Being a period piece, each doll has no stains or imperfections, and considered in excellent original condition, and retains the original craft/workmanship showing a wonderfully developed, untouched patina commensurate with age. The set of dolls meets all the standards of Sosaku Kokeshi collectibles and is a wonderful set to round out a collection of Shido Shouzan.