Vintage, Rare Sosaku Kokeshi Entitled: “Umeko | Plum Child” by Yusa, Fukuju


Dimensions: 9-1/2”h

Beginning in the Taisho era, many Kokeshi artists began to feel the sense of freedom and experimentation felt throughout their culture. Textile designs that were being reinterpreted in other materials such as painted wood,  lent themselves well to the innovative and exciting imagery for these diverse forms. During this time, many school-age children of middle and upper-class families wore traditional garments intermixed with fun, oversized contemporary graphics, which were particularly worn as festival wear, partaking in “flower viewing”, (Hanami), and selected by adults making the decisions of clothing to be worn. 

Most of Yusa-san’s graphic work is typically decorated with the black accents and multi-colored sections, and in this case, celebrating the season of Cherry Blossoms, (Sakura). Shown is a beautifully turned and ornamented doll that represents a young boy with brightly painted plum blossoms on a bright red jacket, (Haori). It features a thin collar and triangular panels at either side seam, and is combined with striped trousers, (Hakama). 

The smooth undulating surfaces add to the simple character of the doll, and brings focus to the central motif.  A carving method known as “Harmonic Chatter” has been used to beautifully define the hair. The doll’s inquisitive large eyes bring attention to this expressive work, along with a button nose and side hair fringes, helping to achieve its desired expression of youth. The artists inscription is on the bottom. 

Condition: Very good, original condition with slight loss of the white enamel on a few petals, but the overall piece is consistent with age and standards of collectable Folk Art, with all details perfect and as crafted.