Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: ‘jo-no-mai Noh Dancer’ by Kon, Akira (Seiju) | 1931-

Sale price$245.00

Dimensions: 13-0”h

This beautifully fashioned Kokeshi perfectly depict emotions conveyed by wonderfully stylized faces, gestures and simple treatment of garments depicting a ‘jo-no-mai Noh Dancer’, in a form of theatre involving music, dance and drama, originating in the 14th century and an interlude performance of the main Not performance. Here he captured the highly stylized masked actor at his commanding and mysterious best. An extremely slow-tempo dignified mai is a character who may represent on of the following characters: shirabyōshi (traveling female dancers wearing male attire), traditional female dancers, ghosts of noblewomen, female spirit or deity.

The head of the doll simulates the well known Noi mask (see images), with expressive open slits for the eyes, a realistic red mouth, the jo-no-mai hair design, and two ‘Bindi’ dots on the center of the forehead typically worn by this character. One of the most interesting elements of this doll is the multi-colored decorative headband. The garment has three-dimensional cherry blossoms on the surface with a red demarcation indicating the closure of the Kimono. Seiju-san employed different woods in its creation and particularly Japanese cypress, (Hinoki), and then stained with natural pigments to capture all the decorative elements of this character. The piece is signed by the artist with the onsen mark on the bottom, and characteristically identified as one of the few pieces of this type made by Kon, Akira. The doll published in Sosaku Kokeshi: Celebrating the Major Artists of the Creative Movement, 2022 by Evans & Wolf.

Condition: Superb outstandingly, exceptional, impressive, and beautiful condition. No chips, cracks, breaks, missing pieces or restoration, and retains its original details and finish. The piece meets all the standards of the collectible Sosaku Kokeshi. 

For additional information on the artist/family go to:

Seiju studied under Master Hasegawa, Tatsuo, and his designs are based on the Tsugaru-style kokeshi, where his pieces were sold at the Owani Spa, Aomori. Little is known about this artist, other than he is from the Yamagata area, a major Kokeshi-making city/prefecture. ‘Noh’ theatre, of course, along with ‘Kabuki’, is Japan’s great gift to the Western world. They originated at religious festivals in the first half of the fourteenth century.