Friday 11 October 2013

Daruma Dolls

Our new larger Daruma doll (shown above left) has a more detailed face than the smaller Daruma we also sell. The eyebrows are painted in the shape of a tsuru (crane) with the cheek hair resembling the shell of the tortoise (kame).  Both the crane and tortoise are well known in Japan as symbols of longevity as encapsulated in the Japanese proverb "Tsuru wa sennen, kame wa mannen" (the crane lives 1000 years, the tortoise 10,000 years).  The beard of the larger Daruma, as with the smaller dolls, is painted in the shape of Mount Fuju.

A reminder of the Daruma tradition: Daruma are sold with two blank eyes. The recipient paints in one eye when he/she sets out on a task. The presence of the one-eyed Daruma then acts as a constant reminder to its owner of the unfulfilled task. The other eye is filled in when the task has been fulfilled. One explanation of this custom is that the promise to give the Daruma full sight once his/her goal has been achieved motivates the Daruma to grant the wish of its owner!