Sunday, August 9, 2015

East Coast Kokeshi 5 東アメリカのこけし5

Among my mom's kokeshis are a couple of beautiful Naruko kokeshis by Mr. Sato Minoru 佐藤實さん. Today I'll examine two of them. We took my parents on a kokeshi adventure to Mr. Sato's workshop located in the mountains above Naruko Onsen 鳴子温泉, but I don't seem to have ever written a blog entry about that trip. I'll have to look through my photo collection to see when we were there because I cannot remember when we were there. I do recall that there was still snow on the ground, but that's about it. Maybe spring of 2014? Anyway, Mr. Sato is quite an interesting character as he lives and works in a small cabin out in the woods and is known for having a dog that sits in the window of his workshop. And in fact we got to meet the dog as well as Mr. Sato. As you can see, there's a lot of background connected with these kokeshis.
The first piece is a Naruko but with an unique body shape and what looks like a hat, so this must be one of his personal designs, or hon'ningata 本人型. The face is small relative to the head, which I believe is something Mr. Sato's kokeshis are known for. We'll see the same technique below.
The face is peaceful with the eyes located far above the nose. The mouth gives just a hint of mirth, but otherwise contains little in the way of expression. Mr. Sato has also painted the side hair fairly close to the face giving it a narrow appearance.
I'm especially intrigued with the signature on the bottom which is just the kanji for his first name Minoru 實. If I did not know exactly who had made this kokeshi it would have been challenging to trace it through just the signature.
Next we have a another Naruko by Mr. Sato, though it is noticeably tall and thin making it different than the typical Naruko. Front and back views show his beautiful craftsmanship.  
The face is fairly similar to the one above, though has even less expression. Again, the small face is unique I believe among Naruko kokeshis as is the tall, thin body.
A closeup of the face reveals the red pattern surrounding the hair, which is very handsome.
The flower design is also unique and well rendered.
A top down view gives the face a completely different appearance -- an interesting effect. The hair and head pattern are quite intriguing.
Here's the signature, which also only has Mr. Sato's first name Minoru. The right side says "Kensanrogata," or the Kensanro-style or type which I know nothing about and will have to do some research on.

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