Daruma figures


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Daruma figures

Postby Drax » Mar 20th, '12, 20:39

Just curious -- anybody know much about Dharma (or daruma) figures and such? I'm familiar with Bodhidharma and the legends, but I'm more interested in the variety of figures that represent him.

In particular, for example, during my recent scouring of Japan auctions, I ran across this interesting figure. Unfortunately auctions in Japan rarely seem to provide any useful background information... anybody know anything...? (:
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 22nd, '12, 00:01

I've collected a few Daruma tea wares and love the image! My avatar is from one of them (the Daruma is on the other side) :D

A friend told me besides its religious status, Daruma in Japan symbolizes indomitable (because he was the zen patriarch who faced a wall meditating for 9 years) . So the Daruma doll is often in that shape (roly poly?) - as showed in your link. There are traditional toys of similar shape in China, but they don't carry as much spiritual message as Daruma doll. Daruma doll, because of its shape, never fall down. That's also why my Daruma kyusu this proverb (as showed on my avatar) - falling down 7 times and getting up 8 times, that is life! :D

My friend also told me traditionally Daruma dolls are for making wishes - typically for students who want to get in college, or somebody who wants to start a business, win the love of a woman... You would get it, paint one eye, and keep it. The plan is, when your wish comes true, you would paint the other eye. But he also said there must be many one-eyed Daruma dolls in many people's attics :mrgreen:

But anyway, I like the way people pray to a Daruma doll. It's not exactly the same as just asking a god for something. It has the idea that one should learn from Daruma about his unyielding spirit and then there is good chance to succeed.
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 22nd, '12, 00:08

I hope some other people can tell more about the Daruma image and traditions of it. For example, I also have this teacup, and don't know why there is Daruma and (seemingly) a disciple of his on the front side, but on the back side, there is only one man's (the disciple's) back instead of two. I'm currently guessing it means Daruma is a fairy person so you can't see his back. But that's just random guess and I would like to get some solid answer!
Image

Image

(The teacup is by itself, the dish and lid were added by me to participate in a teachat gaiwan competition a few years ago :mrgreen: )

Also I wonder if the little mosquito (or whatever it is) on my avatar represents anything. I've seen it on quite a few Daruma tea wares. :D
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby Drax » Mar 22nd, '12, 07:47

gingkoseto wrote:I've collected a few Daruma tea wares and love the image! My avatar is from one of them (the Daruma is on the other side) :D


Ha! That was great... for the briefest moment, I was like "whu...?" :lol:

I get the feeling that the Daruma is a really common item, which means it probably has a lot of "folk" versions like the one auction that I linked -- I've certainly seen many different shapes, sizes, and styles.

I'll be curious if anybody knows the answers to your questions, gingko, I'm sure there's a lot of parts of the legend/history that shows up in different ways.

I don't think I'll be picking up that particular Japan auction one, but I did win this one over on eBay. I don't believe the "130 year old" statement, but it's still the perfect size and the broken knot gives it a lot of character.

I wonder, though, it seems rare for these things to have a maker's mark...?
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 23rd, '12, 21:30

Drax wrote:
gingkoseto wrote:I've collected a few Daruma tea wares and love the image! My avatar is from one of them (the Daruma is on the other side) :D


Ha! That was great... for the briefest moment, I was like "whu...?" :lol:

I get the feeling that the Daruma is a really common item, which means it probably has a lot of "folk" versions like the one auction that I linked -- I've certainly seen many different shapes, sizes, and styles.

I'll be curious if anybody knows the answers to your questions, gingko, I'm sure there's a lot of parts of the legend/history that shows up in different ways.

I don't think I'll be picking up that particular Japan auction one, but I did win this one over on eBay. I don't believe the "130 year old" statement, but it's still the perfect size and the broken knot gives it a lot of character.

I wonder, though, it seems rare for these things to have a maker's mark...?

I think this looks prettier than the Japan auction one, and better price!
I didn't see a maker's mark on this one. Does it have one?
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby Drax » Mar 24th, '12, 09:19

gingkoseto wrote:I think this looks prettier than the Japan auction one, and better price!
I didn't see a maker's mark on this one. Does it have one?


The eBay one seems to be more of the 'traditional' style, while the Japan auction one is more of an abstract style.

From what I've seen, the typical versions of the daruma appear to be either like the eBay one, or they tend to be more spherical and red painted.

I do not know whether the eBay has a marker's mark. It's currently on its way, so when it arrives, I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, it doesn't appear that anybody else knows much on this topic...! :D

Typing "daruma wooden" into google images brings up a really wide selection of stuff. This website appears to have a number of items on daruma, but it doesn't look like the eBay store they talk about is active anymore.
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby SlientSipper » Mar 25th, '12, 19:19

I'd like to own some teaware with Daruma on it.
As I recall, he was allegedly the founder of the Shaolin temple. He was known as Ta Mo back in those days.

Here's a tune about him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXmEYoeR_Kk
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby Poohblah » Mar 26th, '12, 11:59

Yes, there are many legends about Daruma. Supposedly, once when he was meditating, he fell asleep and became so angered with himself that he cut off his eyelids and flung them to the ground. His eyelids grew into the first tea bushes.

Of course, tea was being cultivated in China long before Bodhidharma and the Chan school of Buddhism.
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby Drax » Mar 26th, '12, 21:08

I wonder if there are any books that detail the art of the daruma...?

I tried searching on the Japanese Amazon, but it's seems hard to tell; many of the books look like children's books. Although this one looked promising..., unfortunately very few books seem to have previews available (and the product description wasn't very helpful). Hmmmmm...
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby SlientSipper » Mar 27th, '12, 00:23

They say he was obsessed with the number 7. To gain an audience with him a Shaolin Monk chopped off his arm so Bodiharma would stop walking and listen.

Legend has it then when he left the Shaolin temple for good.
He left a trail of flowers that sprouted up as he walked away.

His body was never found, one could argue that he never existed. Its really hard to say.
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 27th, '12, 01:50

Drax wrote:The eBay one seems to be more of the 'traditional' style, while the Japan auction one is more of an abstract style.

From the appearance, I feel the wooden ones like yours are more artistic, and the red ones are more of folk arts and for practical use (if praying counts one). I've also seen red color style (but much smaller) on accessories such as cell phone pendants and necklace beads.
Also I wonder if Daruma doll is by any chance connected to other dolls such as the "fortune cat". They don't seem that close to each other, but some cat dolls almost look like cat version of Daruma doll (shape, but not face :mrgreen: ), like this one:
Image

and this one:
Image
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 27th, '12, 01:56

Poohblah wrote:Yes, there are many legends about Daruma. Supposedly, once when he was meditating, he fell asleep and became so angered with himself that he cut off his eyelids and flung them to the ground. His eyelids grew into the first tea bushes.

I don't know who invented that story, but it never fails to give me lots of goosebumps :twisted: :mrgreen:
But later, I sort of imagined that Daruma probably picked up some leaves (possibly tea leaves?) and made them his eye masks (to keep himself awake or keep his eyes function with sleep deprivation...) Then when he took off the leaves, people thought he took off his eye lids...
This is just my imagination. But somehow I like to have the story deviate away from "cutting off eyelids". And sometimes I do use tea for eye masks :mrgreen:
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby Drax » Mar 27th, '12, 06:43

I like the eye-mask image much better than eye-lids getting ripped off.

Of course, that reminds me of a yuukai story ("ghost story") of a man who ended up performing a ballad (Heike?) for a court of spirits/demons. He is to be summoned the next night, but he finds out who they really are. A priest friend paints his entire body with holy writings for protection and to make him "invisible" and he's to sit motionless when the messanger arrives to take him.

He does so, but the priest forgot to paint the man's ears, so the messanger sees nothing but the ears..... and so the messanger rips the man's ears off to bring them back as proof that nothing else was left. The man remains motionless the whole time.

Anyway, there seems to be a penchant for body parts getting ripped off.... :D
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby Drax » Mar 27th, '12, 06:51

I like the round kitty! If it's an imitation, it's definitely a subtle one.

You've probably seen the more "blatant" imitations of Mickey Mouse as daruma, or even Hello Kitty...

The latest Pokemon game actually has a Pokemon creature patterened after the daruma. The English name is Darumaka, and it is a "zen charm" pokemon. It evolves into Darmanitan (Hihidaruma in Japanese). When it loses half of its health, it enters "zen" mode and gains the "psychic" type. :D
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Re: Daruma figures

Postby Poohblah » Mar 27th, '12, 11:13

I think that legend about Daruma is supposed to illustrate his devotion to meditation. The part about the tea leaves was probably added later, since tea and zen buddhism became intertwined.
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