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A Brief History of Japanese Daruma Dolls


Daruma dolls are representations of the historical Indian priest Bodhidharma, a sage who traveled throughout Japan and China in the 5th or 6th century AD. Bodhidharma is credited with establishing Chan Buddhism in China and Zen Buddhism in Japan. Legend has it that Bodhidharma achieved enlightenment, or satori, following seven years of meditation either in a cave or as he was facing the wall of a room at the Shorinji Temple in China. During this time he moved neither his eyes nor his limbs. Legend has it that as a result of his inactivity Bodhidharma's limbs shriveled and fell off. Another legend relates that angry with the fact that he had fallen asleep during his meditation, Bodhidharma cut off his eyelids in a fit of anger. It is believed that the severed eyelids fell to the ground and sprouted into China's first green tea plants!

Daruma dolls (Daruma is short for Bodai Daruma, the Japanese rendering of the name) are red roly-poly papier-mâché depictions of Bodhidharma. Like the Bodhidharma they have no arms or legs and sit in a meditative pose with large, staring eyes and no eyelids. When knocked on its side, the doll pops back to the upright position (hence "tumbler" doll, or "okiagari koboshi") so it has become a symbol of optimism, good fortune and strong determination. The doll comes in many sizes - the standard size is larger than a basketball. While most Daruma dolls are male, some Japanese localities have female Daruma ("ehime daruma" or "princess daruma").

At New Year time, many Japanese individuals and corporations buy a Daruma doll, make a resolution, and then paint in one of the eyes. If, during the year, they are able to achieve their goal, they paint in the second eye. Many politicians, at the beginning of an election period, will buy a Daruma doll, paint in one eye, and then, if they win the election, paint in the other eye. At year end, it is customary to take the Daruma doll to a temple, where it is burned in a big bonfire.

Daruma-making is strongest in the Takasaki region of South West Japan. It began in earnest here in the late 17th century as a relief measure for farmers who were suffering from famine. The story is that the Daruma Temple instructed farm households to make dolls from papier-mâché as a way of earning extra income. These days nearly 100 households annually make about 1.6 million darumas, accounting for about 80% of all darumas made in Japan. Every year on the 6th and 7th of January, a Daruma market is held in the precincts of the Daruma Temple, and hundreds of thousands of people visit it.

There are many different styles of Daruma Dolls, but there is one philosophy that all Daruma dolls share and that is the pursuit of beauty and artistry through simplicity. This philosophy is extolled at the website; www.dollsofjapan.co.uk.

Ivor Conway has traveled extensively throughout Japan and was enchanted by the beauty of Daruma dolls. The website http://www.dollsofjapan.co.uk is a resource maintained by Ivor Conway and dedicated to this simple but bold art form.


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE RESOURCES updated Fri. February / 15 / 2019

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MailChimp is a popular, online marketing tool. In this class you'll get a brief introduction to using MailChimp to create email marketing like eNewsletters.


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Six week course for adults to learn film making techniques with their smart phones.


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Join us every second Wednesday of the month to learn about useful, fun, and free applications you can download to your smart device.


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Get a head start on your holiday shopping with over 100 vendors at American Family's annual Art & Craft Fair! This event is free and open to the public. There.


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Drop in knitting: Learn a new craft or work on that unfinished project with other neighborhood knitters.


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Maltese Crafts And Hobbies You Should Totally Get Immersed In This Summer  Lovin Malta

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Drop-In Basic Computer Help | Crafts and hobbies  Madison.com

Get help with basic computer questions: email, printing, filling out online forms, etc.


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Hobbies I enjoy are piano, writing, math, and swimming, but my favorite thing to do is crafts. I like to make miniature places like mini campsites out of paper, glue, ...


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Join us to learn about the basics of using a computer.


Pinterest fans rejoice! Craft studio opens in Raleigh that's perfect for pinners  WTVD-TV

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Good Day Market is a highly curated shopping event featuring well-made handmade home & lifestyle goods and the people that make them. This year we'll have ...


Bike Traffic Skills | Crafts and hobbies  Madison.com

Free class taught by UW Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator Chuck Strawser. Learn the basics of vehicular cycling and keep yourself safe and comfortable while ...


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EAA Skiplane Fly-In | Crafts and hobbies  Madison.com

One of the area's most colorful events of the season returns for its 27th year. The annual EAA Skiplane Fly-In, will be held on Saturday, February 9, from 10:00 ...


Meet Zoran Nikolic, Photographer and Lover of Wooden Boats  Total Montenegro News

Zoran Nikolic from Prčanj is one of the most famous Bokelian photographers whose landscapes of Boka Bay stop the breath of the audience from all meridians.


The hidden benefits of hiring Jacks and Jills of all trades  Financial Times

Studies found generalist CEOs fostered more innovation than more specialised counterparts.


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Wirecutter has recommendations for helping tweens and teens explore their creativity.


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What’s On Listings 14-20 February  Lancashire Evening Post

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Making beaded jewelry is an inexpensive and fun hobby that nearly anyone can do. The materials needed are readily accessible and cost very little money.


Sewing A Button On By Hand
I have so many people come into my shop saying something like - I can't even sew on a button. How sad it is that a whole generation has lost out on learning how to do just the basic skills of sewing.

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