Vintage Sakura Sosaku Kokeshi by Takahashi, Hajime
This is an exceptionally unique doll in that it head/hair has an unusual treatment. The head, as with standard Kokeshi, has a simple round form with the slits for the eyes and button red nose. Its traditional hairstyle, (taregami), is used to top the head and hair fringes. The unusual and stylized topknot is the most unique feature in that it resembles a hair ornament, (Kansasi) with a piece of gold foil for ornamentation. The artist has employed an abstract cherry blossom motif (Sakura) by allowing the motif to be the natural wood where he standardly celebrates seasonal flowers and festivals. Takahashi-san has an unusual way to illustrate kimono in a very painterly way and in this case in deep red. He shows both the kimono as a solid form with no indication of its waist or obi. The piece is signed by the artist and has his red stamp on the bottom of the doll.
Condition: Excellent, “as is” original condition with minimal affects from aging, and retaining a wonderful patina with no fading or discoloration. Beautiful doll.
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Originally a fine arts painter, Takahashi-san is from Sendai, (where Traditional Kokeshi were born), in Miyagi Prefecture. His artistic background also includes time spent as a craftsman of Yuzen silk kimono dying. He is a multiple award winner in yearly Kokeshi competitions, receiving the Prime Minister’s Award, the highest honor bestowed on Sosaku Kokeshi artists. All of his work is easily recognized by the painterly designs decorating his dolls. Now deceased, his son, Akinori is carrying on the family’s tradition, but in limited production.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
The most unusual quality of his dolls is that their heads can be a separate element, or just a simple tapered element at the top of the doll form. The artist motif‘s range from realistic to abstract Plum flowers, (Ume), Cherry blossoms, (Sakura), Japanese Iris, (Ayame), or celebrating seasonal festivals with zodiac animals. Takahashi-san has an unusual way to illustrate kimono in a very painterly way. He shows both the kimono and undergarments, with exaggerated waists and simple obi, if it shows an obi at all. Occasionally seen is his use of Rokuro Moyo in both carved and painted form.