Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi Entitled: Ume.ko (Plum Maiden)


Dimensions: 7-1/4”h

This is an exceptionally old doll and decorated with a white plum blossom motif on the front of the doll. His dolls also utilize multiple types of wood, with natural colors, with hand-painting to define the face and clothing.

The most unusual quality of his dolls is that its heads is a separate element, or just a simple tapered element at the top of the doll form. Takahashi-san has an unusual way to illustrate kimono by combining wood types to differentiate the kimono and undergarments, with exaggerated waists and wide obi. Signed on the bottom by Takahashi Hajime.

Condition: Unfortunately the doll is quite worn, “as is” original condition with minor cracks on the top of the head and neck that does not lose its integrity and display ability and remains to be a quite unusual design. It appears that the previous owner wanted to see that the cracks on the head and neck does not progress. The piece has not deteriorated any further since it purchase in Sendai in 1983. We never restore pieces for we feel it is best not to take away the patina or the character of older pieces that developed with age. As curators, we had to buy this piece because of its rarity and felt it needed to be published, (A Collector's Guide: Traditional and Creative Kokeshi and Toys), and find a home.

NOTE: Originally a fine arts painter, Takahashi-san, (1918-2002) 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.