Friday, August 7, 2015

East Coast Kokeshi 4 東アメリカのこけし4

We're still vacationing on the American East Coast, giving me a chance to discuss another of my mother's kokeshis. Today's is a Yamagata kokeshi 山形系こけし from Tendo Onsen 天童温泉 that was created by Mr. Aida Eiji 会田栄治さん. I remember when we first went into his workshop a few years ago and he wasn't there, and then visited again in fall 2014 when Naoko got to talk with him at length -- click here to see the blog post about that visit. I don't recall when we got this kokeshi for my mother, but I knew it was an Aida piece immediately upon seeing it.
One thing that sticks out about this type of Aida kokeshi is the shape of the head which is wider than average. Yamagata kokeshis tend to have more "hair" than other kokeshi types, and this one is especially well-covered with hair around the face. As we can see with the face the eyebrows and eyes are rather thick making for a memorable look.
Looking down from the top we see the hair is tied by a red ribbon pattern; a very nice touch. The body, which is short relative to the head, has some stripes and two flowers. Overall a simple but effective design.
Naturally the bottom has the signature, with Mr. Aida's full name on the left and "Tendo" 天童 written on the right.
This is probably a good time to let readers of this blog know that Mr. Aida passed away at age 85 earlier this year on March 11th. As most of you know that was the exact day marking the fourth anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami disaster. The last time we saw Mr. Aida was at the Michinoku Kokeshi Festival in Yamagata last September as he, too, was a kokeshi connoisseur who was very devoted to his craft. I recall from when we met he was very interested in the history of kokeshis, especially those of the Tendo area. Mr. Aida may be gone but his kokeshis will live on in collections in Japan and around the world.
Naoko and Mr. Aida chatting at the September 2014 Michinoku Kokeshi Festival.

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