Vintage Japanese Daruma | Bodhidharma Kokeshi by Shouzan, Shido


Dimensions: 7-0”h             

This is an unusual subject for Shouzan-san (1932-1995), and a take-off of the “roly-poly” doll seen at festivals throughout Japan. Daruma introduced his teachings as the religion of Zen Buddhism. Japanese stories about Daruma, (Bodhidharma’s name in Japan), go far beyond Asian legends — they are overlaid with a wealth of mythology and superstition involving popular culture and local Japanese folkloric motifs related to astral deities, gods of the crossroads, endemic spirits, fertility, and more. One of the theories behind this choice in the design is that it derives from the fact that, in the past, those who wanted the god residing in the doll to help them achieve their goals.  It is characterized by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics and an appropriate shape for the lathe-turned and hand-painted Kokeshi doll. Shouzan-san won the prestigious Prime Minister's Award, the most coveted recognition by kokeshi artists. The piece is hand signed in script on the bottom of the doll as opposed to the impressed stamp which is typically for mass-produced pieces.

Here are the features of this Daruma offered in this listing: The body, shrouded in his robe is colored “Red” is the dominant color of the original, traditional figures because it’s believed that Bodhidharma wore red robes and because red is a very auspicious color in most Asian cultures signifying energy and good health. The beard and eyebrows painted on the doll are meant to reproduce Bodhidharma’s, (Daruma) facial features, but they do not serve a merely aesthetic purpose. Its eyes are one of the most noticeable features of the Daruma is its blank glance, (his pupils are very small looking upwards). The figure has extremely large ears and a downturned mouth showing a serious attitude with black graphics, and missing legs and arms, as a reminder of Bodhidharma, (Daruma) losing his limbs in his quest to reach enlightenment through self-sacrifice and meditation. 

For further information on this artist go to:

Condition: Excellent meaning the piece is perfect, totally original, and complete with no restoration, or discoloration and retains its wonderful patina which suggests a degree of wear that corresponds to its vintage. The doll meets all the standards of the collectible Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi by the Artist Shouzan.