This creative kokeshi is likely modeled after a traditional Naruko kokeshi, featuring beveled shoulders and a narrow waist. The unfinished birch bark body displays a painted landscape and black Japanese characters in the center and the head has a mizuhiki (red ribbon) on the top.
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
12.25" h 3.25" w 3.25" 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.