Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

Japanese Vintage Lathe-turned Daruma-Daishi Doll



Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 7-1/4”h

Daruma, unlike the other monks, was a bit more eccentric, fanatical and established his own Buddhist traditions. 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. 

The original lathe-turned doll of this type was inspired by Shido, Shouzan, a Japanese Kokeshi artist and maker of a very diverse collection of Kokeshi figures. All of his pieces have a distinctive vermillion red robe and are made of birch wood. Here are the details of the Daruma Doll offered and shown in the associated images: Firstly, the variegated lacquered body is the dominant and exceptionally interesting aspect of this doll and beautifully accentuates the characteristics of the base wood being Zelkova. The colors range from mahogany, orange with grey and black accents. The beard and chest hair are only suggested utilizing a faint grey tone. Daruma’s eyes are one of the most noticeable features with his blank glare and exaggerated eyebrows meant to reproduce Bodhidharma’s, (Daruma) well-recognized facial features. There is an exaggerated nose, extremely large ears, and downturned red mouth showing a seriously expressive attitude. The body coloration suggests that he is wearing his traditional robe and cowl that is open in front (showing a belly button which is rare for this type of figure), and no indication of legs or arms, as a reminder of Bodhidharma, (Daruma) losing his limbs in his quest to reach enlightenment through self-sacrifice and meditation. The piece was made popular in Yamagata and is an unconfirmed mark to be made by Seifu Gono, who produced in the area. It represents the largest figure of this type currently on the market.

Condition: Excellent “as is” original condition, exceptionally beautiful doll minimal surface scratches from the effects of aging. There is no discoloration or fading.