Daruma Doll

Japanese Vintage Daruma Doll


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 7-0”h x 5-1/4”w x 5-0”d 

Daruma, unlike the other monks, he was a bit more eccentric and fanatical. The legend goes that Bodhidharma spent nine (9) years in deep meditation (with his eyes open!) staring at a blank wall. His perseverance for enlightenment was so firmly committed that his arms, legs, and body simply fell by the wayside and disappeared. Yet his undaunted spirit remained. This is why his image is the foundation of Daruma dolls are more than just toys but deep-rooted symbolizing three things: your goal, your action, and the outcome woven into the psyche of the Japanese culture.

This Daruma you will not see on the internet for it is not the typical “roly-poly” doll and is only sold at the Horinjio (Daruma) Temple, Kyoto. The original doll of this type was inspired by Higuchi Bunsho, a Japanese artists specializing in drawing bodhidharma who created the ceiling drawing at the Daruma-do within the temple. The Daruma is made of washi, a traditional handmade paper and hand-painted object made only in winter. Because cold water is essential to making a more natural paper with little to no chemicals. It is meant to be kept in a place of honor, (altar or Tokomama) in the home.

Here are the features of this Daruma Doll being offered: Its eyes are one of the most noticeable features of the Daruma is its blank glance, (some dolls do not have pupils but they present large white circles where the eyes would be. 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 would vow that they would give Daruma its eyesight if the god helped them succeed in their endeavors). The body is colored “red” with black and gold graphics and presents no legs or arms, as a reminder of Bodhidharma, (Daruma) losing his limbs in his quest to reach enlightenment through self-sacrifice and meditation. The writing, which is in kanji is placed on both sides and back of his robe wishing the owner “luck”, “fortune”,  and “perseverance”,  while the incorporation of the ensō on the front of his garment symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu, (the void). It is characterized by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics. Drawing ensue is a disciplined-creative practice of Japanese ink painting, sumi-e. The red body 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. The figure has extremely large ears and downturned mouth showing a serious attitude. 

Condition: Excellent “as is” original condition without chips or discoloration.

NOTE: This particular Japanese Daruma from Horinjio is not meant to be burned, and not the typical doll that you see all over the internet or on the streets of Japan.  Whether you achieve your goal or not, it is not meant to follow the tradition of taking your Daruma doll back to the temple from which it was purchased, in order for it to be burned which is considered to draw closure to the year that has passed, and start afresh for the coming one ahead.