Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: “Akikusa | Autumn by Yamanaka, Sanpei (1926-)
Yamanaka-san creates wonderfully painted and decorated dolls in many forms and shapes and in this case a young girl wearing a Kimono in ‘Rokuro-moyo’ horizontal colored rings, of red and green around the form. Her face carries the feeling of impishness and evokes a child-like rural life. Her simple horizontal eyes and a small carved concave nose add to this impression. She has a traditional hairstyle with a large ‘Mage’ to complete the look. The doll is signed in red on the bottom identifying this artist.
Condition: Excellent meaning that the piece retains its original craft/workmanship showing a wonderful-developed patina commensurate which suggests a degree of wear that corresponds to its vintage. It is void of damage, cracks (other than those noted above related to the natural knot and shown in the image), breakage, or repairs and meets all the standards of the collectible Sosaku Kokeshi.
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Born in Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture, Yamanaka-san began his artistic career as a photographer, after majoring in chemistry. However, rather than develop a career in Traditional Yamagata doll making, Yamanaka-san used his art background to join the Sosaku Kokeshi movement. A multiple award winner, he won the Ministry of Education Award at the all Nippon Modern Kokeshi Exhibition in 1979.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
Yamanaka-san creates wonderfully painted and decorated dolls in many forms and shapes. He may utilize a palette of soft watercolor rings in the Rokuro-moyo manner, to create a suggestion of a rainbow, because in Buddhism, the rainbow is “the highest state achievable before attaining Nirvana, where individual desire and consciousness are sublimated”. On numerous occasions, Yamanaka adds painted flowers to add to the overall dimension of the garment that it is representing. This is not to say that he does not enjoy the natural qualities of wood. Controlled carving adds textures that are neat, random, and sometimes repetitive, and provides decoration to his dolls. The carving contrasts nicely with the natural grain of the wood. Dolls portray wonderful traditional hairstyles through the use of “chattering’ and controlled carving. His head and facial designs are most expressive, particularly with figures of children.