Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi entitled: “Shoshinsha no sori ~yo | Novice Monk” by Katase, Kaihei | 1921-2015


Dimensions: 6-0”h

Buddhism and Shintoism are the most popular practiced religions in Japan. Monasteries were places where young children from poor families went to learn how to read, write, and pray, and many monks served as teachers and recruiters. 

This Sosaku Kokeshi represents a young Samanera, (monk) who has been accepted into the monastery but has not yet undergone higher ordination. As shown in this figure, the practice of cutting or shaving the hair on the scalp in a pinwheel pattern called ‘Tonsure’, is a sign of religious devotion or humility. Both the hair and body display the use of “Chatter Work”, (Birikan’na), to give texture to each element. The eyes are simple shallow carvings showing a humble child prepared for learning. Young monks were given three garments, inner, lower, and outer. Portrayed is a small child, (a monk, as it were), wearing a brown robe, “civara ”, which means a robe without any symbolic meaning to its color. The artist's impressed stamp is on the bottom.