Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi Entitled, “Yuki no ichi | Snow Night” by Aoki, Chikako

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Dimensions: 8-1/4”h

Offered is a rare, “one-off” creation from a virtually unknown and unpublished craftswoman. Her head shows hand-carved and colored bangs, with expressive eyes peering out from under the winter clothing that covers her head. What is interesting is the unusual turning and surface ornamentation of this very solid form defining her body. This young girl is wearing a ‘mino’, (snow coat), that is covered with a textured cherry blossom motif throughout the simulated tortoise shell colored surface. It is executed by a burning technique called, ‘Shou sugi ban’, that creates the three-dimensional qualities of wood and creates patterns. The wood used is cypress, (hinoki). Additionally the artist incorporated lacquerwork in finishing the coat and striped undergarment, in red and green, with a vertically textured background. She has a  sumi-e’ drawn face, and bangs with ‘one-stroke eyes’, (Hitofude-me).  Aoki-san signed on the bottom, which allowed the translation in identifying the artist/maker’s name. We have never seen any other pieces by Aoki-san, and believe that the artist’s artwork focuses on other media and Kokeshi making was not her specialization.

Condition: Very good, original condition, with no fading or loss of color, and consistent with age. The was a hairline crack that is difficult to see and does not interfere with its appreciation or stability. This occurred when the pieces was being turned and repaired by the artist. The piece meets all the standards of collectible Folk Art. 

NOTE: Historically, the Japanese have been a very modest people. Japanese artists, in particular, felt their work spoke for them, and so for centuries, creative efforts by many artists, yet were easily recognized by the public through a specific style and the artists’ unique personalities. As collectors we felt it was most important to represent all Traditional and Sosaku Kokeshi, whether or not the artist has been identified by their seal, or artistic signature translated, or a written account of the artist’s life. Each shows the diversity of this cultural specialization and the creative work produced by this artist. There is no biographical information on this Kokeshi wood carver.