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達磨

Daruma

From ancient times, Japanese common people have delighted in the culture of engimono (good luck charms). Decorations, foods, talismans, festivals, and even performance artists at festivities can be engimono.

Traditional limbless dolls called Daruma are very popular Japanese engimono. Daruma imitates the zazen (seated) posture of Bodhidharma, the founder of a Zen Buddhist sect, who sacrificed his mobility over nearly a decade of meditation. A Japanese proverb Nana-korobi ya-oki can be literally translated “If you tumble down seven times, stand up eight times.” (Life is full of ups and downs.) Attributed to Bodhidharma, this proverb has come to symbolize the perseverance of Japanese people. Since Daruma dolls are designed to return to upright position if tipped over, they personify the spirit of Nana-korobi ya-oki.

The heart of this culture is in Takasaki-shi, Gumma Prefecture, where about 80% of Daruma dolls are produced. Hiroyuki Imai, a third-generation representative of Imai Daruma Shop founded 80 years ago says, “I’m hoping that people can accept hardship and sadness with gratitude by greeting Daruma (meaning Bodhidharma) every day. I want people to remember that every day is uniquely precious.”

Daruma-ichi (Daruma market) is held in Takasaki on January 6 and 7, drawing over 200,000 visitors each year. People visit this place and purchase Daruma to express gratitude for safety in the past year and hopes for good fortune in the coming year. Daruma dolls accept people’s wishes and watch over their daily lives with affection.

IMAI DARUMA
http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/forest/imai/

In preparation for painting, Daruma dolls receive a white foundation coating of gofun, which is mainly made of shell powder.

Gofun enhances the base material strength while emphasizing the colors of face coating paint. Red is believed to bring good luck.

Daruma drying in the sun. Takasaki is a sunny place, which is good for Daruma production.

Painting Daruma faces requires sophisticated skill. Becoming a full-fledged Daruma artist can take about 10 years of practice.

Daruma preparation is a little like makeup artistry. It starts with an application of foundation, drawing the eyes and drying them, drawing a nose and drying it...

About 10 processes are required before Daruma is finished. All these steps are manually handled.

In response to the customer’s requests, the artisan draws a good fortune message in calligraphic characters on Daruma.

The base of a Daruma doll is made of paper and the inside is hollow, so it’s easy for anyone to lift.

When making a wish, people usually draw an eyeball with black ink. Then, when the wish is granted, the other eye is added in black ink.

Traditional red Daruma dolls are popular among international visitors. And lately, new colors like blue and gold have appeared in response to consideration for auspicious feng shui.

Novel “designer Daruma” have been created to attract new consumer segments and suit modern interiors. By simplifying facial features, the beautiful outline of the face is emphasized.

Takasaki silkworm breeders have long relied on cats to drive away rats, a natural predator of silkworms. As a result, good luck cat charms (maneki-neko) are often placed beside Daruma.

2014-07-15 09:48:18
I had a little daruma doll when I was a kid.~ Watching this man paint them so expertly is kind of mesmerizing! @__@; Lately, I really want another one to use, though the designer ones are really interesting and would be cool as just a decoration! IS JAPAN COOL? SHOPPING http://www.ana-cooljapan.com/shopping/
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