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Slender Yamagata Kokeshi by Kobayashi Seitaro
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Yamagata Kokeshi by Kobayashi Seitaro

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I have had a great deal of difficulty differentiating between Yamagata and Sakunami style Kokeshi. They both have similar painting designs and body styles that are either thin and straight or tapering down to a base. The only distinguishing characteristic I've seen anyone state is that on the top of the heads of the Yamagata dolls there is a single straight hair which is surrounded by radial red paintings. I don't know if this is always true. Also, when identifying the marks, the Kobayashi family is associated with the Yamagata style and the Hiraga family is the "head" family of the Sakunami style Kokeshi.

This beautiful 9" doll, which has a slender body that tapers down to a base, originally looked to me like a Sakunami style Kokeshi. The seller identified her as: made in Yamagata prefecture, signed by Kobayashi Seitaro. This doll and the family of 5 by Kobayashi Eizo that I've already shared on Kokeshi Talk all have that single straight hair on the top of their heads. So...I love my Yamagata Kokeshi and am still looking forward to finding a Sakunami for my collection.