Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi Kagura Dancer | “ Entertaining the Gods”


Dimensions: 12-0”h

This extremely rare, unusual, and beautifully decorated doll depicting a dancer dressed for the performance. She is wearing an elaborate and colorful embroidered costume in which her head is partially wrapped in a blue Hachimaki, (helmet-scarf worn as a symbol of courage). She has a very characteristic face with “plump” lips and expressive eyes. She is wearing a costume that shows intricate details and workmanship of her decorated and layered costume which has a great deal of graphic detail, (i.e. camellias) in full color. The name Kagura is written on her back and is artistically signed on the bottom, but because of its’ age and the evolution of the kanji, it is not translated.

Vintage Condition: Excellent and commensurate with age, having no fading, distortion, cracking, or imperfections leaving a wonderful patina. The photos support the description.

NOTE: Kagura is a form of music and sacred dance dedicated to satisfying the Shinto deities with roots arguably predating those of Noh theatre. The mythology of Japan tells that one God is hiding within a stone and another God dancing to coax it out, and this is said to be the origin of Kagura. Long ago, the Shinto priests who took care of the shrines were the only people allowed to perform jaguar. Nowadays it is performed by a shrine Miko maiden, (maihime) who were supposedly decent ants of Age-no-Uzume (goddess), and specifically tied to the rhythms of the agricultural calendar. Kagura is an interpretation of myths, legends, and semi-historical accounts often involving battles between gods and demons. These forms of storytelling or reenactment of fables are only one of the primary influences on the Noh theater.