Japan, II half 19th century - 5578
This work depicts Daruma, who is represented as a rather bulky man covered with a mantle while he is yawning and stretching his arms and legs.
Daruma, was the founder of Zen Buddhism. Born in India during the VI century he was very successful as a missionary in northern China. His approach, was based on soul seeking and on the development of a strong master/disciple relationship. In Japan Zen Buddhism, known since the 9th century, obtained more attention after 1200 with the rise to power of the military class.
Netsuke with Daruma were made since the beginning of the 18th century. A beloved theme was his awakening after years of meditation, like in this case. The considerable dimensions of our model leads us to believe that it is an okimono, despite the fact that in theory the cord (himo) could pass through the opening between his outstretched arms. Its manufacture is datable to the second half of the nineteenth century, a time when there was a certain interest by the netsukeshi to return to the practice of painting and lacquering wood, partly inspired by the works and techniques of Yoshimura Shuzan.
For a version of a Daruma in meditation see in the Lanfranchi collection the netsuke by Anraku.