"Yukiguni | Snow Country" "Yukiguni | Snow Country"

Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

"Yukiguni | Snow Country"

Ishihara, Hideo

Age:Early 1970s

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 3-1/4" h

Buddhists in the North of Japan believe that Winter snow is a channel of energy, and is thought to be a ‘Divine Voice’ speaking to us through visual imagery. The Japanese people feel that they can truly experience the essence of snow with the “five” senses. This small figure is simple in character wearing a ‘Mino”, (snow coat), while the natural qualities of the wood adds pattern, depth and richness to the unornamented body.

Vintage Condition: “As is” with some scattered light wear or stain that does not affect the design, and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage are noted. 

Artisan | Woodworker: Ishihara, Hideo | 1925 - 1999


Ishihara-san, a highly influential Sosaku Kokeshi artist, was born in Tokyo, and began his career by making Traditional Narugo dolls in 1957. His grandfather was the very famous artist Onuma Iwatao, of Narugo Onsen, Miyagi. After graduation 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 60 awards, including the highest honor, the Prime Minister’s Award.

Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:

Ishihara-san’s dolls are based on many motifs, both found in nature and in 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 which have both the ‘one-stroke eye’, (Hitofude-me), as well as as a variation of traditional doll eye treatments.

Artist's signature: