Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi Sibling entitled: "Aka Warabe | Red Kid; (Kuro Kami | Black Hair)” by Ishihara Hideo
This wonderful Sosaku Kokeshi associated with two names as shown in this title, and are found in a 1970s book featuring Ishihara-san's work. They are Narugo-inspired children. The vermilion red lacquer painting of the body breaks with tradition, while the distinctly Narugo face with the black accentuated hair is firmly in the style of the family of traditional dolls. Ishihara was awarded a special award with a similar Kokeshi at the 15th All Nippon Kokeshi contest that was held in 1968. The doll has Ishihara’s script signature.
It is our understanding from readings as to why Ishihara was inspired to lacquer the body of these dolls red. During this period of time, superstition play a large part in raising a child, and “Red is believed to protect children from evil”. Since ancient times, people in Japan have regarded red as a color that denotes the power of the sun, and also that of blood – the power to protect humans from evil and harm. Therefore, some people put red clothing on their children, including red underwear, to gain spiritual empowerment and encouragement. Red is the color of festivals and has a symbolic meaning of peace and prosperity for the family.
A final note about Ishihara’s use of black bangs and side fringes with minimal facial features. Japanese have all colors of hair just like many other cultures. But long, black hair was a sign of beauty for women in the Heian period (794-1192) when Japan developed its own cultural preferences. So children with black hair were considered exceptionally beautiful, and we have found such preferences portrayed in many forms of art, including Kokeshi.
For Additional Information on this artist visit: https://mingeiarts.com/collections/artisan-woodworker-ishihara-hideo-1925-1999
Condition. Mint condition and commensurate with age, having an exceptional quality of lacquer work on beautifully-turned figure. There are no scratches, flake-off, cracks, or imperfections. Meets the high standards of the collector of the works of Sosaku Kokeshi by the masters.
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Ishihara-san, born in Tokyo in 1925 was a highly influential Sosaku Kokeshi artist and began his career by making Traditional Narugo dolls in 1957. His grandfather was the famous artist Onuma Iwatao, of Narugo Onsen, Miyagi, and creator of the "Naruko Kokeshi". After graduating from University, Ishihara-san was under medical care for more than ten years, during which time he studied painting. Upon recovering from his illness, he began making Sosaku Kokeshi, and in a ten-year period (1959-1969), he received more than sixty awards, including the highest honor, the Prime Minister’s Award. He was introduced to the twenty-three countries in Europe and America by NHK. He has sponsored 30 exhibitions in Japan including those at Matsuzakaya Nagoya and Ginza, and four exhibitions in overseas countries. He was one of the founders of the Nippon Kokeshi Artistic Handicraft Association.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
Ishihara-san’s dolls are based on many motifs found in nature and textile design. He loves portraying both young and old characters with differing hairstyles, (traditional and 1950s era). He illustrates numerous kimono styles in both painted form and carving and utilizes simple graphic treatment to emphasize the strong character of his dolls, which bring out the true nature of the wood materials through manipulation of the turned and carved wood. His dolls are always finished in a simple wax coating. It is also not unusual to see him utilize sumi-e’ drawing of faces that have both the ‘one-stroke eye’, (Hitofude-me), as well as a variation of traditional doll eye treatments.