Friday, October 7, 2016

A Black and White Yajiro Kokeshi

In the previous blog entry I discussed Naoko's trip to Japan and her one kokeshi adventure in downtown Tokyo. Today I am going to talk about a beautiful black and white Yajiro kokeshi 弥治郎系こけし by Mr. Niiyama Yoshinori 新山吉紀さん that Naoko purchased. We met Mr. Niiyama back in December 2012 (it was very cold that day) at his workshop located on the grounds of the Yajiro Kokeshi Village in Shiroishi City in southern Miyagi Prefecture, so that is a pleasant connection with this kokeshi.
Black and white kokeshis are not all that common, which might be one reason why I like them. I especially like the fact that Mr. Niiyama made the hair ribbons red, the only bit of color on this piece other than the mouth. As we can see this is actually a very simple design with some thin black lines along with thicker gray lines, all of which serve to accentuate the shape of the wood. The doll's height is about four inches, or ten centimeters.
Looking down from the top we can see the "snake eye" pattern on the crown, but this would usually be painted in bright colors on a typical Yajiro kokeshi.
The next image is a close up of the face where we can see a wisp of hair in the middle, the collar of the kimono, the slight nose, the sparing use of red, and the delicate brush work for the locks of hair that frame the face. In my opinion this is a very well done Yajiro kokeshi.
Finally, turning the kokeshi over we can see Mr. Niiyama's stylized signature. I must say that Naoko found an excellent piece for our collection.

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