A well-rounded and very expressive netsuke of a Daruma, the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism. After travelling from China to Japan on a single read, he meditated in front of a wall for nine years. This is often parodied and Daruma is also called o-ashi no nai, meaning “the honorable with no legs”, as his legs are said to have rotted away during his wall-gazing. According to another legend, he fell asleep once after seven years and was so enraged he tore out his eyelids to ensure it would not happen again. In this netsuke he is tickling his belly for his amusement and to stay awake. Daruma has a broad nose, stubbled beard and eyebrows made from real hair. This trick netsuke has two possible expressions of Daruma, which change when lightly shaken. One with small eyes and retracted tongue - screaming in agony. The other very amusing, to poke fun at the Zen-patriarch, with the inlaid coral tongue sticking out and over-exaggeratedly large eyes. Large, rimmed himotoshi on the back, next to a signature that presumably reads SENKOKU. The bottom with a secret compartment.
HEIGHT 4 CM
Condition: Very good condition, minor loss to real hair of the eyebrows
Provenance: German private collection
Auction comparison: A comparable model in ebony from the Tsu school, which made many examples of Daruma dolls with movable eyes or tongue, was sold at Bonhams, The Julius and Arlette Katchen Collection of Fine Netsuke Part II, London, 10 May 2017, lot 11.