Vintage Japanese Nata-bori Carving of Seated Bodhidharma (Daruma)

Sale price$124.00 Regular price$165.00
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Dimensions: 3-1/4”h 3-0” dia.

This small Nata-bori carving is of Daruma, the god of good fortune and perseverance. In this beautiful wood sculpture, thoroughly merged with the natural form of a tree root, half hidden by his rustic cloak, is Bodhidharma, the Indian sage who brought Buddhism to Asia. He is also credited as the Patriarch of Buddhism in Japan that came to be known as Zen. This carving is made of a naturally dark and extremely dense root wood. The irregularities and knots have been left in place, accentuating the rustic mood. All elements carved into the wood are admirably done; however the remarkable face of Bodhidharma is the center and the highlight of this work. Daruma’s cape appears to sitting comfortably around his body while meditating with his hands hidden beneath the garment with hands locked in hidden “mudra”. In contrast to his rough wood torso and base, Daruma’s face is smooth carving in fine detail. The darker color of his face and neck draws attention to his concentrative expression.

Nata-bori expressive wooden figure of Daruma has been executed in the “partial carving” technique, which utilizes wood burls or other chunks of wood with great natural character leaving them in their original shapes from a single piece of root. Since there are excellent woods among Japan’s natural resources, woodcarving as a Buddhist art has had a long and significant history in that country. The most effective Daruma carvers exhibited their reverence for wood in using this carving technique, which leaves a large portion of the figure uncarved to preserve the wood’s own contribution to the shape and texture of the ultimate product. These carvings epitomize both the creative energy and the conceptual richness inherent in Japanese folk sculpture. The originally was a label on the bottom shows that it has worn off from age and use. There is no signature present. 

Condition: This carving is in excellent condition with minimal signs of wear, adding to its warmth and charm. 

Additional Information:

The Daruma (Daruma), or Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. These hand carvings typically depict a bearded man (Dharma), and vary in design depending on region and artist. Daruma has a design that is rich in symbolism and is regarded more as a talisman of good luck to the Japanese.