Saturday, March 8, 2014

Kokeshis by Mr. Shida Kikuhiro 志田菊宏さんのこけし

Among the kokeshis in our collection, a group of Yamagata kokeshis 山形系こけし by Mr. Shida Kikuhiro 志田菊宏さん has recently caught my eye. Mr. Shida's kokeshis show superlative craftsmanship, from the lathing to the painting, and his faces are exquisite -- somehow he makes them look quite lifelike. I remember casually liking his kokeshis, but I'm not sure how I failed to notice such superior work until now. Furthermore, I've noticed two things about his kokeshis that I'm pretty sure are unique among Yamagata kokeshis. First, he makes at least some of his kokeshis such as the first one below where the head and body are connected, something usually only seen in Tsugaru 津軽 and Kijiyama kokeshis 木地山系こけし. Secondly, Mr. Shida paints a line of hair on the back of his heads (shown in the images at the bottom), which I have not seen seen on other kokeshis. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do.

When I first started looking at Mr. Shida's kokeshis I had a hard time figuring out what was written on the bottom (image above). He only writes his first name -- 菊宏 -- in very stylized script, next to which he also writes Oisawa -- 大井沢 -- the area in the mountains in central Yamagata where his workshop is located.  


Here's a rear view of the kokeshis above so you can see the line of hair the back of the heads. It shows a nice attention to detail.

Hopefully we'll be making a kokeshi adventure to Yamagata and Mr. Shida's workshop soon.

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