Daruma Dolls [single piece]
Imagine traveling in Japan, your journey is nearing its end, and you want to buy something really Japanese for your friends and family, something that won't just lie on a shelf and gather dust. You would prefer to bring with you an annual supply of sushi, or better yet, your own personal sushi chef, but even a bottle of sake would not be bad if it wasn't so heavy. The refrigerator door is already full of magnets, you wonder what's left? Looking around, you come across a window with round, colorful, interesting figurines. You happened to run into one of the most famous items in Japan.
Daruma (達磨) is a hollow, traditional Japanese figurine of the so-called papier-mâché, usually in bright colors and blank eyes. In short - the ideal souvenir. You can buy it for yourself, your friends, business partners… The lovely figurine hides an interesting story. But about that later.
Daruma's main task is to help fulfill wishes. Whether you bought it for yourself or got it as a gift, the procedure for using it is the same:
- Choose a goal (desire)
- Color one eye
- Every day, focus on the desire
- When your goal comes true, paint the other eye
- Optional: Leave Daruma on the shelf as a reminder that there are no unattainable goals and desires (dust it regularly, you don't want it to be just another souvenir!)
Daruma figurines originate from Takasaki (Gunma prefecture), which lies in southwestern Japan. They are made from recycled paper and colored with water-based colors - very eco-friendly! 😃 A percentage of sales go to charity. It is intended for an organization that helps children with disabilities.
IS DARUMA STORY RELATED TO A REAL PERSON?
Daruma took its form from Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism in Japan, who lived somewhere in the turn of the 5th to 6th centuries. His true origins are still mysterious, the details of his life are intertwined with the legends that emerged later on. Most likely, his life journey began in Central Asia. On a journey east, he stopped at a monastery in China, where he laid the foundations of martial arts for Shaolin monks. After that, he settled in a nearby pit and began meditating. This is where the connection with present-day Daruma (the Japanese name for Bodhidharma) begins. For nine years, Daruma meditated in a sitting position and since he did not move, he lost his arms and legs. This has been mentioned many times in Japanese folklore and can also be seen in art paintings. Daruma figurines capture Bodhidharma's meditating posture. His devotion to enlightenment was so great that despite his physical loss, he maintained a strong spirit.
The Daruma figurine is associated with the Japanese proverb "Nanakorobi yaoki" which would literally mean "If you fall eight times, get up nine times". The non-overturning circular shape of Daruma tells us that we must not give up on our goals.
Everything on Daruma has a symbolic meaning; in form and in images. Most figurines are red, probably because Bodhidharma wore a red robe, and partly because red in Asian cultures represents energy and health. Today, Daruma dolls are of different colors and each has its own meaning.
What is special about Daruma is her blank stare. It has white circles instead of eyes, its owner needs to draw them. Legend has it that Daruma cut his eyelids because after seven years of meditation, he blinked, so today there are two white circles instead of eyes.
Hand drawn beard and eyebrows on the figurine represent the hairy face of a sitting Bodhidharma. In Japan, animals symbolize long life, which is why the shape of the eyebrow is reminiscent of a crane and the beard of a turtle. Both animals appear in the Japanese proverb: "The crane lives 1,000 years and the turtle 10,000".
Kanji inscriptions on Daruma's body represent values such as "happiness", "wealth" and the like. The owner can write down her own wish or goal as a reminder to herself or to the God she believes in.
Bodhidharma is known as the founder of Zen Buddhism and Shaolin martial arts, but today is, above all, a symbol for determination, strong will and discipline. Daruma dolls remind us of the desires and goals that we want to accomplish. Put your Daruma doll on a visible spot as a decoration or a reminder of your life goals. GOOD LUCK! 🤞