Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

Vintage Minomushi Cape Sosaku Kokeshi by Shido Shouzan

Shido, Shouzan


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 11.6”h

The doll represents a later version of the 1950s school girl wearing an unusual straw outer-wrapping called a “Minomushi”, which it is an article of clothing worn to protect rural people of the mountains from rain and snow. 

Shown is Shouzan his slender, Northern tall figure supporting the fact that they reminded him of tall, thin trees seen throughout Northern Japan. It unique feature is the textural qualities of ‘Chattering’ as seen on the base of the doll representing the undergarment, (i.e., Kimono). The upper portion of the doll is the creative interpretation of the original ‘Mino’, (straw rain/snow coat), with the young girls youthful and detailed face is peeping out from under the wrap. The only ornamentation seen is through the delicate carving of the various elements of the doll and through the natural lacquer finishing emphasizing the natural graining of the wood.

His keen sense of design, minimal use of color, and simple elegant shapes set him apart from his peers, making him one of the most collectible artists emerging from the creative period. Shouzan and his doll was a winner of the Prime Minister’s Award. The doll has Shouzan-san’s stamp on the bottom of the doll but difficult to detect because of the dark finish of the doll.

Condition: Excellent with no imperfections or color loss. Museum quality piece.

Artisan | Woodworker: Shido, Shouzan | 1932-1995


Shido-san is considered by Kokeshi collectors and critics alike to be arguably the most influential artist in the world of Sosaku Kokeshi doll making. Shido-san’s main focus was depicting unadorned Northern girls in the traditional “Mino”, or Snow Coat, but he also produced tall, thin dolls, which were sparsely decorated. His keen sense of design, minimal use of color, and simple elegant shapes set him apart from his peers, making him one of the most collectible artists emerging from the creative period of the ‘60s. He is a winner of the Prime Minister’s Award, among many other awards.

Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:

Shido-san loved studying the use of combining different types of wood to gain the desired effect and to give dimension to his pieces. He also enjoyed creating slender, tall dolls to support the fact that they resemble the tall, thin trees seen throughout Japan. He incorporated a repetitive textural pattern called ‘Harmonic Chatter work’ to enhance the natural qualities of the wood on many of his works.

Shido-san particularly enjoyed the textural qualities of ‘Chattering’ on the rain/snow coat, (Minomushi), which is a favorite theme, executed with minimal painted ornamentation, with an emphasis on the natural wood. In general, it is said the Japanese culture is one of modesty and humility. Occasionally we see different types of headdress, one of which he called a ‘Tsunokakushi’, which is a wide headresses or hood, which covered elaborate hairstyles. We are told that the Japanese people regulate their behavior and response by reading faces and the eyes of others. Here, as well as elsewhere, you will see many examples of different characteristics of the eye is expressions. His most famous doll was called “mai”, a dancer, which was an elegant and slender doll created in 1970. This doll exhibited traditional hair design with an emphasis on a brightly colored “obi” which brings forth the best use of complex geometry to create traditional Japanese clothing elements.

Shido-san was a prolific artist/woodworker of Kokeshi dolls. We additionally see unusual subjects focused on Zen Buddhism and figures of Daruma, (Bodhidharma) of which most were made in a “roly-poly” type figure seen throughout festivals in Japan.

Artist's Signature: