Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kokeshi Heads こけしの頭

A kokeshi version of Marie Antoinette?
A kokeshi is a pretty simple thing really. It has a head, a limbless body, and nothing else. While I'm sure that we could theorize all day about what exactly makes traditional kokeshis appealing, this sheer simplicity of form would probably be high on the list. Which leads me to some thoughts about kokeshi heads. Last year Naoko came home with the head from a kokeshi by Mr. Sato Shoichi 佐藤昭一さん -- it's body lost at some unknown time -- that she found in a knickknack shop in downtown Tokyo. First of all, I thought it was absolutely hilarious as it somehow reminds me of a miniature Olmec head. Second, even as just a head it works, which is interesting in that I don't think we could say the same thing if there was just the body. That would suggest, then, that it's really the face that gives the kokeshi its fundamental kokeshiness. Well, I'll let you decide.

I've also included a couple of photos that I shot of kokeshi heads by Mrs Sato Ryoko 佐藤良子さん from Togatta Onsen. Again, I would argue that as disembodied heads they look just fine. So, an examination of heads may not be a true kokehsi adventure, but they've given me something to think about.

"What are you looking at?"
A box of heads. 

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