Vintage kokeshi by Watanabi Masao


This vintage Kokeshi by Watanabe Masao (1917-2007) from Fukushima prefecture. Masao won over 8 major awards at the All Japan Kokeshi Competition.

This Mushin (meaning “Innocence”) design is one of his most well-known pieces and can be found with this texture or in plain wooden/grain form. This doll is 30cm tall with artist signature on the bottom.

Arguably, the most popular and prolific of the 20th/c Sosaku Kokeshi artists, he began his craft in the early 1950s. He is famous for not only minimally carving beautiful woods, but also for his use of gessoed surfaces and lacquer to add another dimension to many of his dolls. His faces almost unamimously depict a universal theme of ‘innocence’ (Mushin). A multiple-award winner, his works are permanently exhibited at the Nuremberg Toy Museum in Germany. Of all the Kokeshi produced by Masao Watanabe, his doll entitled, Mushin, (Innocence), is most representative of this artist’s work. The emphasis is on the color of the natural wood and texture, and the form of this piece is the most recognizable of all of his dolls. The representation of clothing, complemented by the natural graining of the wood, and the painting of the sash, is common for this particular series. The natural wood implies the kimono or yukata with It’s smooth curves brought about through the use of the lathe. Some painted and raised forms resemble Shibori, a type of tie-dyeing which give texture to the garment. The Beatles in 1965, were presented with kokeshi dolls by Watanabi after their appearance in Japan.

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SKU: kok53 Category:


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