Vintage, Rare Sosaku Kokeshi Entitled: Kagamijishi | Japanese Kabuki - Renjishi Lion Dancer Kokeshi by Miyashita, Hajime

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Dimensions: 10-0”h

Offered is a wonderful hand-painted Kokeshi which depicts a Lion Dancer known as Kagamijishi, which is a shortened name of the Kabuki dance called the “Shunkyo Kagamijishi”. Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese drama with highly stylized song, mime, and dance. It is performed only by male actors using exaggerated gestures and body movements to express emotions, in historical and domestic plays, drama, and dance. 

This Kokeshi represents the Lion Dance character, (Mai), which was an ongoing theme for this artist, for it portrays the spirit of the lion, which is a contrast in character between the elegant femininity of Japanese women versus the dynamic masculine power of the Lion Spirit. The figure is made of solid turned, and carved wood, and is shown in a relatively simple juxtaposition of the form/body elements, which affords a contrasting effect as if dancing, emphasizing the natural birch wood, (Shirakaba), and painted surfaces. (Several examples of this doll has been left unpainted). 

The pose enhances the beauty of the doll, with the poetic meaning translated through the minimally ornamented material. Along with simple relief carving of the body  which consists of an outer Kimono and undergarment, and is complemented by wide-wrapped sleeves. The Kimono details three low-relief, carved bamboo fan fronds outlined in gold, and is beautifully painted gold and black cloud graphics on the red under-kimono, adding dimension to the overall figure. Her face is simply detailed with eyes peering out while holding a fan with painted spring flowers in one hand. Her hair has a wash of red over the natural wood color and larger red line-work made to look like a simplified Lion’s mane, full and majestic in appearance and focused on the front of her head. She is mounted on a short platform, (dais), to present the doll and to support the offset this juxtaposed figure. Miyashita-san signature is on the base.

Condition: Excellent, original condition, consistent with age and standards of collectable Folk Art, with all details perfect and as crafted.