Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Daruma Dolls

達磨人形

Daruma dolls are symbols of good fortune, determination and optimism for the future.


Daruma doll

The figure portrayed in the dolls is Bodhidharma. Legend has it that Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk from south India, traveled to China where he became the founder of Chan (later Zen Buddhism). While meditating, the monk's limbs atrophied and he lost the use of his arms and legs, hence the Daruma dolls are made without both arms and legs.

Due to their low center of gravity these roly-poly dolls are difficult to push over and just bounce back to their original position. This symbolizes Bodhidharma's perseverance and strong will-power and inspires the possessor of a daruma doll to keep on trying.

Normally red and white hand-painted papier-mache with a whispy black beard and moustache, bushy eyebrows and no pupils, Daruma dolls are often purchased at temples when someone is hoping for a successful outcome in life - be it finding a partner, giving birth, passing an exam or achieving success in business.

The hopeful aspirant paints in one of the blank eyes and when the wish comes true paints in the other one.
Daruma dolls are great fun for kids and also make for authentic ethnic ornaments - and make your dreams come true!

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