Vintage Minomushi Cape Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: "Yukiguni no Warabe | Children of the Snow Country” by Shouzan, Shido | 1932-1995


Dimensions: 16-1/4”h

The doll represents a school girl wearing an unusual straw outer-wrapping called a “Minomushi”. The doll is made of lathe-turned jointed pieces made from Elm wood, (Zelkowa / Keyaki) for which Japanese woodcarvers has always had a love of ‘nature-worship’, for wood has long been revered as a vehicle to house the spirits of Japan’s shinto beliefs.

The creative interpretation of her ‘Mino’ shows this figure to be a hooded female whose body form consists three sections: the hood, the body draped in the outer- garment and a base which is the under-garment. Her head is moveable under the hood and exhibits peaceful eyes along with an an opening representing her mouth. Its’ unique feature is the textural qualities of ‘Chattering’, (chisel bouncing and causing a heavy textural quality to the wood), and seen on the base of the doll representing the undergarment worn beneath the Kimono. The only other 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. After the turning, carving the doll is lacquered and sealed with a natural candle wax, (Rosoku no ro). A perfect doll for the collector of Shouzan’s work in the Japanese Kokeshi folk art genre.

Shouzan’s 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. Shido won numerous awards including the prestigious Prime Minister Award. Shido-San passed away in 1995. The doll has Shouzan-san’s impressed stamp on the bottom of the doll.

Condition: Excellent with no imperfections or color loss. Museum quality piece and a perfect doll for the collector of Shouzan’s work in the Japanese Kokeshi folk art genre.

NOTE: The northern villagers have traditionally been farmers and silkworm cultivators, who, in spite of bad weather, had to move about without care. This article of outer clothing was worn to protect rural people from rain and snow, and is fashioned after an earlier version that was made of straw. These Minomushi have been conceived based on traditional pitched roofs throughout the Showa Valley region. That architectural treatment was known locally as “Te o inotte”, (praying hands), a reference to the fact that the unique roofs look like praying hands, and were built to shed the heavy snows that fall in the winter. Shouzan-sans slender, Northern tall Kokeshi figures reminded him of these architectural elements as well as the tall, thin trees seen throughout Northern Japan.