Vintage Traditional Narugo Style Kokeshi Bank by Katakura, Tomio | 1936
This is an extremely “RARE and never seen” Kokeshi which has been made as a coin bank and fashioned from timber bamboo. This doll has a straight-shaped body, narrowing slightly at the waist with beveled shoulders. It incorporates ‘Yoko mono’ color bands on the shoulders/neck portion of the doll and at the wide base giving support and balance the figure. The head is of solid wood and has bangs set wide apart with a definitive feature of side fringes. On the top of the head are red bows intertwined with the black hair.The face has single eyelids, and a cat nose. It has the typical paintings of red chrysanthemum, (Kiku) on the body of the doll along with black leaves giving it a unique, flowing form and affording it a stronger visual character. The bank still retains its original coins inside and has screws to remove the base, and to get to the coins inside. The piece is identified and signed by Katakura-san of Mihara prefecture on the bottom.
Vintage Condition: Excellent, unrestored and completely intact and retains the original craft/workmanship. The piece meets all the standards of collectible Folk Art.
NOTE: They originally came from Narugo Onsen in Miyagi Prefecture and originated sometime in the Edo period when there were approximately 125 craftsmen producing this style. The Narugo Kokeshi has been labeled the most sophisticated.
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These are the popular “squeaking or crying child” dolls and are made of two pieces, with the head being attached to the body via a snap-in projection, allowing it to be turned, thus making the squeak. Naru is "sound or "cry," and ko is "child." Thus, naruko is "crying child," It's no surprise, then, that the Naruko kokeshi "cries" when her head is turned. They originally came from Narugo Onsen in Miyagi Prefecture and originated sometime in the Edo period when there were approximately 125 craftsmen producing this style. The Narugo kokeshi has been labeled the most sophisticated.
Collector's note – characteristics / painting style:
Narugo dolls are one of the most well-known families of Kokeshi and are defined by their straight-shaped body, narrowing slightly at the waist with beveled shoulders. Bangs set wide apart are the definitive feature of the head with side fringes, a single eyelid, and a cat nose. They also are very balanced, and typically have paintings of chrysanthemum, (Kiku), Iris (Ayame), or peony (Botan). Though these basically plain dolls are not as decorative as others of the Traditional school, their unique, flowing forms are stronger visually because of their inherent elegance.
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