Wooden kokeshi doll by Shozan
Japan, Showa period, 1950’s
A tall wooden model of a doll, kokeshi, the enormously elongated body inset with a long head with a straight topknot and two painted arches representing the eyes. The doll has a wooden sash around the middle, painted with black leaves on a green ground. The base is stamped: Shozan saku with kao.
Kokeshi are simple wooden dolls with no arms or legs that have been crafted for more than 150 years as a toy for children. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face.The body often has floral designs painted in red, black, and sometimes green, purple, blue, or yellow inks, and covered with a layer of wax. This doll represents a boy courtier (a Tachi hina boy doll). The artist Shido Shozan (1932-1995) was born in Oita Prefecture and studied in Tokyo. He later moved to Yonezawa City, Yamagata Prefecture, where woodwork and kokeshi crafting are active. The artist was awarded many prestigious prizes at kokeshi crafts competitions held in Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures in the 1960’s to 1980’s. In 1982 he exhibited at the Venice International Craftsmen Expo, Italy.