Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blue Kokeshi 青いこけし

Of all the colors one doesn't see painted on kokeshis, blue is conspicuous. It's true that's there is a kind of light blue-green used on some Takobozu たこ坊主 Tsuchiyu-type kokeshis 土湯系こけし, but I wouldn't call them "blue" kokeshis. And it's also true that one doesn't see shocking pink, or puce, or burnt umber, or chartreuse, but those are uncommon colors and I would guess at some point in the past the traditional kokeshi community set standards for itself regarding color range. Blue, on the other hand, would be a natural choice, right? It's certainly common with modern kokeshis, but why traditional kokeshi makers do not paint their kokeshis blue is not clear to me.
The colors one sees normally are red, green, yellow, black, and purple. Reds are almost always bright, as are yellows. Greens tend toward bright but vary in shade, while purples deep rather than pastel. Scanning our kokeshi collection I can say without hesitation that red is the most common kokeshi color. Black is used on every kokeshi for hair and faces, and occasionally for design. Yellow is sometimes used for bodies and striping, and purple tends to be used almost exclusively for striping. But there's no blue.
That is except for one lone kokeshi in our collection.
In this blog I would like to introduce a blue Naruko-type kokeshi 鳴子系 that we found last summer at the annual Kokeshi Festival at Naruko Onsen by Mr. Sato Yoshihiro 佐藤賀広さん. It's about 18 centimeters and as you can see it's a blue kokeshi! Well, blue color dominates. If you look closely there's also hunter green leaves, another unusual color. Striping is black, while red is used sparingly. I can't stress enough how striking it is in contrast to its red-green sisters. Well, that is my opinion of course. 
Enjoy this wonderful little work of art.

No comments:

Post a Comment