Rare Japanese Interpretation of “Daruma | Bodhidharma” Doll by Shibuya, Shinraku

Sale price$45.00

Dimensions: 2-1/2”h x 2-3/8”dia

 Shibuya-san is a prolific artist of Daruma dolls whose work dates from the 1960s. A Transitional artist, (one who broke away from the traditional forms and motifs found in Kokeshi), Shibuya, Shinraku is from Yuzawa City, in Akita Prefecture. Virtually nothing is known about this artist other than what he produced, except that he was a very focused and talented artist who shared an important philosophy with Daruma, the “pursuit of beauty and artistry through simplicity”.

He began his creations to spread the philosophy that Daruma practiced by producing both Kokeshi dolls with Daruma’s image, as well as small inverted egg-shaped heads and face forms for New Year's when most Japanese individuals and corporate executives purchased Daruma dolls in making their yearly resolutions. Wishes asking to fulfill one's desires, self-sufficiency, attention to health and ending suffering, self-discipline, and business and financial success were common. These New Year requests and resolutions were done at temples where the Daruma figures were purchased.

An inverted egg-shaped head and face form the basis for this Daruma figure. One sees that the image is placed on a large amount of negative background, which divides the surface and balances the design with space to appreciate the image, with unpainted areas of the doll giving form and volume. He works in the sumi-e’ style of painting which achieves a suggestion of detail by using different intensities of ink and line work. As with this figure one sees the use of black for the body outline and figure formation and white eyes are painted to create the impression that Daruma represents religious wisdom, knowledge, and compassion. 

From very little knowledge about this artist, he produced several different styles of Daruma (Bodhidharma). As with this doll, the use of meditative eyes, a large nose, expressive mouth/lips, long ears, elongated ear lobes, and the characteristic crane-shaped eyebrows represented long life. The additional of red to represent Daruma's characteristic robe is seen on the sides of the figure. When the artwork is completed, the figure is finished with a type of natural candle wax,(Rosoku no ro). The name of the piece is on the back of the figure and Shinraku’s personal “Hanko” or “inkan” (seal). Only on rare occasions or for a special person did Shibuya-san sign his religious dolls.

Condition: Excellent condition exhibiting the wonderful manipulation of woods to form the figure producing a natural, aged patination and meticulous care. There are no missing elements, no scratches or imperfections related to daily use with all detailed elements intact. The object retains the original craftsmanship, meeting the standards of the collector of Shibuya, Shinraku dolls.