Kiyoshi Saito: Bunraku Puppet with Heart-Patterned Sleeve (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Kiyoshi Saito (1907-1997)
Title: Bunraku Puppet of a Woman

What at first glance seems to be a woman in profile with a contemplative expression is in fact a bunraku puppet, her face and neck in bold contrast in bright white and her clothes flowing out behind her. Saito’s unique emphasis of the woodgrain and mastery of graphic impact is shown here. The pattern on the sleeve consists of a roundel of encircling hearts, and the white of the collar has been sprinkled with sparkling mica. Mica has also been applied to the red inner sleeve as well as perhaps the black sleeve. Bunraku is an  Edo period art form that creates theater with dolls that are half-life-size, and are manipulated by three performers. The expertise of the puppeteers and the puppet-makers create performances that are surprisingly moving and emotional. To perform as a main puppeteer and control the movement of the head and right arm, 22 years of experience are required.

Date: Ca. 1960s
Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. 
Dimensions: 43 x 29.2 cm
Literature: See Cat. 94 in Rhiannon Paget’s Saitô Kiyoshi: Graphic Awakening (2021), page 153.
Seal: Kiyoshi
Signature: Kiyoshi Saito (in pencil)