Japanese Bronze Ink Paste Box

Japanese Daruma Ink Paste Box | Bronze Bodhidharma


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 2-3/8”w x 2-1/2”h x ¾”d

We see Bodhidharma, (Daruma), image on many scholars writing desks as one of the key elements in calligraphy.  One such piece is the ink paste box, (Shuniko), shown offered in this sale which is used in combination with a hanko, (han.kos), or seal, (shiiru). The Japanese do not use signatures but instead use seals with the person’s name in kanji. 

This particular item is made of Bronze, (Shibuishi), fully carved with wonderful detail and expression in the likeness of Daruma. The piece separates to allow access to the red ink paste. The current popular symbolism associated with Daruma is as a good luck charm in part originating with the Daruma-dera, (Temple of Daruma), in the city of Takasaki, (Gunma Prefecture), north of Tokyo. Impressed makers seal on the back.

Vintage Condition: Excellent and quite heavy, “as is” and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, surface wear or structural damage is noted. 

NOTE: Bodhidharma, (Daruma), was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter  of Ch’an (Zen) to China. According to one tradition, Bodhidharma gained a reputation for, among other things, his practice of wall-gazing. Legend claims that he sat facing a wall in meditation for a period of nine years without moving, which caused his legs to fall off from atrophy. Another popular legend is that after falling asleep during his nine-year meditation he became angry with himself and cut off his eyelids to avoid ever falling asleep again.