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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Decorative Arts ➔ Kokeshi

This creative kokeshi has a kappa hairstyle with a top knot. The upper portion of the body displays a dark stain and features red and white plum blossoms. It is possibly made of dogwood and has a red seal of Japanese on the underside that translates to "Usaburo" who was the artist.  

Kokeshi are wooden dolls lacking arms or legs that were first produced in the Tohuku region of Japan. They were originally intended to be used as children's toys however they have become popular among collectors and are often used as decoration. Kokeshi can be categorized into two groups, traditional and creative. Traditional dolls are simple in design and are divided into eleven different types that coincide with the area they were created. These types have particular shapes and designs to help distinguish them. Creative kokeshi were first produced after World War II and feature unique designs, shapes, and colors that are not found in their traditional counterparts.
circa 1950 – 1980
9" h 2.75" w 2.75" d
Gift of Etta M. Hesselink

Etta M. Hesselink
Etta Hesselink and her husband John served the Reformed Church as missionaries and teachers in Japan from 1953 to 1973, and they and their five children all developed a deep appreciation for Japanese art and culture. 

Okamoto Usaburo
Okamoto Usaburo (岡本 卯三郎) was born in 1917 in Shinto, Japan. He began making kokeshi in 1950 and won many awards for his creations. He passed away in 2009.

In Japan, family names, or last names, are often written first and given names, or first names, are written last. 


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