DEA Sutoa

Vintage Kokeshi Sisters by Sanpei Yamanaka

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Vintage Kokeshi.

These sisters were created by master Sanpei Yamanaka, who was born in 1926.

His work is always abstract with floral touches with sweet wide heads - a Ms DEA favourite.


width: 13cm
height: 31cm

width: 7cm
height: 14.5cm

Kokeshi originated from the north of Japan, in the mountainous Tohoku region, a popular hot springs area. Histories tell us that the local wood workers used excess pieces of timber to craft simple toys and teething aids for the local children. During the 1800's, many people started to visit the onsen (hot spring inns) in Tohoku and the toys became popular souvenirs to take home.

Kokeshi can be broadly divided into two types: traditional (dento) and creative (sosaku). The traditional kokeshi were first made during the Edo period, some sources suggest, as early as the 1600's. Certainly by the late 19th century they had gained popularity throughout Japan and are still made to this day. Sosaku kokeshi production began at the end of the Second World War.