Japanese 16th Century Daruma Buddhist Monk, Zen Buddhism, 1st Chinese Patriarch
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Edo Period Large Wood Carving of Daruma Buddhist Monk Seated Meditating
This large wood carving of Daruma is part of a long tradition within Japanese art of depicting the legendary monk. His representation throughout the centuries has evolved alongside Japanese civil society. This particular piece is possibly from the Edo Period (1603 -1868) or possibly earlier in the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1573 - 1600).
This piece is wood with a lacquered finish, and was originally painted in multiple colors, most noticeably red, blue and gold.
Japanese stories about Daruma (Bodhidharma’s name in Japan) go far beyond Chinese legends -- they are overlaid with a wealth of new mythology and superstition involving popular culture and local Japanese folkloric motifs related to astral deities, gods of the crossroads, epidemic spirits, fertility, and more. According to the Japanese, Daruma’s arms and legs supposedly atrophied, shriveled up, and fell off during his nine-year meditation marathon facing a cave wall in China. During that time, Japanese legend also credits Bodhidharma with plucking out (or cutting off) his eyelids. Apparently he once fell asleep during meditation, and in anger, he cast them off. The eyelids fell to the ground and sprouted into China's first green tea plants. As we know, Zen's assimilation into Japanese culture was accompanied by the introduction of green tea, which was used to ward off drowsiness during lengthy zazen sessions. Additionally, Japan’s medieval Tendai sect claims that Bodhidharma did not return to India but journeyed onward to Japan, where he met Prince Shōtoku Taishi (574 - 622 AD), the first great patron of Buddhism in Japan, and from this association, Daruma is also linked (in Japanese myth) to horses and monkeys.
Height: 22 3/4"
Width: 15 1/2"
Weight: 15 lbs
Good age related condition, some losses to the paint and lacquer, and some shrinkage cracks, but otherwise in fabulous condition for its age.