Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi by Sato, Suigai (Sadahachi) Entitled: “Semishigure | Cidada’s Song”

Sato Suigai


Age:1960s

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 17-1/2”h

This is a famous award-winning Kokeshi having been including in the Prime Minister’s Award in 1966. Sato-sans artistry has been recognized by Japan’s Imperial Family, Crown Prince Akihito, ( now Emperor Akihito), the Ministry of Economy and trade, and the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

What is unique about this doll is the beautifully positioned head. She has a traditional hairstyle with bun and suggested hair laying on her forehead with hair fringes. Her eyes are very expressive and detailed with eyelashes with a small suggestion of a nose and perched red lips. The motif represents ‘Stilt Grass’, reflective of the base wood of the doll. These grasses are most commonly found in shady, moist areas of wetlands and an important regional motif encouraging healthy crops. She has a tight ornamented and uncolored wood obi on a vivid blue Kimono. Basho, the Japanese poet, summarizes the basis of this motif through this haiku: “How still it is! Stinging into the stones, the locusts’ trill.” The doll has Sato’s red stamp on the bottom.

Vintage Condition: Very good condition with slight fading on the back of the doll but commensurate with age, and a wonderfully large display doll. The photos support the description.

NOTE: Suigai was born in Okubo, Yoshioka Village, Gunma Prefecture (1920-) to a family who owned a silk trading business. At the age of 18, he began his professional career as a painter, and before pursuing a career in creative Kokeshi making in 1948, and pursued careers in fashion design, engineering, and mechanics. 


Artisan | Woodworker: Sato, Suigai | 1920-

Origin:

Sato-san, also known as Sadahachi, was born in Okubo, Yoshioka Village, Gunma Prefecture, to a family who owned a silk trading business. At the age of 18, he began his professional career as a painter under famous artist Komuro, Suiun, before pursuing a career in creative Kokeshi making in 1948. Sato-san also pursued careers in fashion design, engineering, and mechanics. His Kokeshi dolls have won many awards, including the Prime Minister’s Award in 1966. In 1970, Sato-san’s artistry was recognized by Japan’s Imperial Family, Crown Prince Akihito, (Now Emperor Akihito), the Minister of Economy and Trade, and the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:

What is unique to this artist’s dolls is the unusual but traditional hairstyle, the wheat, summer grass, bamboo, (symbolizing prosperity, purity, and innocence), plum blossoms, and abstract leaves. In many instances he utilizes an uncolored wood obi on both plain and vividly colored Kimono. He additionally incorporated ‘Stilt grass’, which is most commonly found in moist areas of wetlands. He also enjoyed representing ‘Kyoho budo’, (giant mountain grapes). Occasionally he incorporated pine, plum, and bamboo, referred to as “sho-chiku-bai”. Sato-san created many wonderful simple forms. The artist regularly captures a peaceful nature in his dolls faces, complementing the serene nature that fills the countryside. And finally, we see Sato-san creating very large Kokeshi, made in two separate sections from the same piece of wood. The motif on the body represent the family crests, (Mon).

Artist's Signature: