Vintage Sosaku Kokensh entitled: “Fuyu no shojo | Winter Girl” by Shouzan, Shido (1932-1995)


Dimensions: 4-0”h; 9-1/4”h

The northern villagers have traditionally been farmers and silkworm cultivators, who, in spite of bad weather, had to move about without care. These two dolls represent girls wearing a Minomushi, (Snow Coat), which as you have been observing, is a favorite theme of Shouzan-san. The Mino is an article of clothing worn to protect rural people of the mountains from rain and snow, and is fashioned after an earlier version that was made of straw. 

Offered is the pair showing diversity in treatment. Firstly is the smallest and the older of the dolls (1950), in which Shouzan demonstrates his love of a textural quality called ‘Chattering’ and demonstrates the process beautifully interpreting these winter coats and places an emphasis on the natural wood. The second, (1970s) and largest of the two shows inspiration from the traditional pitched roofs throughout the Showa Valley region. This 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. Additionally shown is the use of the pointed Minomushi, (Rain/Snow Coat), in natural patterned and colored woods, (the wood markings on this doll are mineral streaks/spots called ‘pitch pockets’ which is a trail from critters leave a mark. These marks, provide a beautiful contrast in the surface of the wood which the Japanese treasure. Both dolls have expressive faces and red undergarments, along with an obi that is simply a band of waxed/painted wood. Finally a simple face with bangs and slanted eyes are peeping out from under the Mino. Each doll is has Shouzan’s white stamp on the bottom. 

Condition: Excellent, original condition, with no fading or loss of color and consistent with age. The piece meets all the standards of collectible Folk Art.