This Japanese Antique Bizen Ware Pottery Okimono or Statue of Dharma is at least 130 years old, dating to the Meiji period from 1868 to 1912 or possibly earlier. He is very close to being Kyu-Bizen or old Bizen. This Bizen Dharma is in fine form and stature. It is very well made in great artisan form by a skilled artisan. This statue has the eyes that follow you no matter which way it is turned. Dharma is dressed in his traditional monk robes. There is much symbolism around Dharma. Just one of them seen in this statue is the eyebrow in the shape of a crane, please see more below about Daruma discussion. I had wondered that a long time until I finally found it in an old book online recently but the below is a good reference and most accurate. Dharma as a person is the Buddhist monk and the short name for Bodhidharma. See more at the Buddhist Statuary website or on Wiki about the differences in Dharma and Daruma meanings, and their huge significance in Japanese culture. This 130-year-old piece is in excellent antique condition. He has no cracks or chips. There is a loss of glaze to the statue which makes me believe this is older than the dealer felt safe in saying and probably dates to the Edo period. It may have surface wear and age wear to the surface, but more importantly is the Bizen patina that overshadows that and it is absolutely gorgeous with the mixture of those things showing its age. It has a gorgeous Bizen glaze both missing but full of patina. See more below about the history of Bizen Ware and how it is made. It is not signed that we now of but I have not taken out the loupe and searched inside, which just occurred to me. It is out, so will have Brent help with that. It may not be signed, but it is old and fine.
SIZE: Height 7.5" or 19.05 cm, Width 3.5" or 8.89 cm, Depth 2.9" or 7.36 cm
Please see our other okimono and ornament in the store, about 120 of them by different makers, ages, sizes, motif, and color. They are found in several different categories including Fine Art, Sculptures; and the easiest way to find them all at once is to search 'okimono' or statue in the Top Center of the pages inside of our store!
Symbolism of Daruma Face - From Gabi Greve's blogspot. darumasan.blogspot in Japan, the link to which can be found in our Favorites Links on our homepage:
Does the Beard and the Eyebrows of Daruma have a Meaning?
The face of a Daruma for Good Luck is usually painted with bold strokes for beard and eyebrows. The most traditional of this kind, is the Takasaki Daruma (we will talk about him in a separate story) has eyebrows in the form of a crane and a beard in the form of a tortoise, both symbols for long life, also see the story about Tsurukame. See the link here or find ‘the Takasaki Daruma’ which is discussed a separate story.
Another explanation says the beard is like a pine tree, around the eyes we have bamboo and the nostrils represent the plum, altogether the tree auspicious symbols for long life. In Japanese this is stated as shoochikubai, shochikibai and written 松竹梅. On the sides and the belly of the doll, other spells for good luck, good business, and a long family line are painted, so he is the epitome of Good Luck Symbols and that is maybe why he sold so well to the Edo townspeople.
The eyebrows and the beard are painted carefully with the brush and some even used real hair to create a beautiful male face. Here, you can also see the separate story about Hige Daruma. Lastly for now, The Beard of Daruma was painted in the form of a snake rather Dragon or 蛇＝龍 in the beginning. Why did it change to a tortoise? The beard is a snake written as 蛇. The beard is a tortoise written as亀. Please see her blogspot for more great stories.
Kyū Bizen 旧備前 or Old Bizen ware
Bizen is the pottery of Okayama Prefecture in Japan and was chosen as one of the famous old 6 potteries, called Rokkoyo. This pottery is also one referred to as of the Wabi-sabi; the comprehensive view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, or incomplete. Bizen ware is a type of Japanese pottery most identifiable by its iron like hardness, reddish brown color, absence of glaze though there can be traces of molten ash looking like glaze, and markings resulting from wood-burning kiln firing. Bizen is named after the village of Imbe in Okayama prefecture, formerly known as Bizen province. This artwork is Japan's oldest pottery making technique, introduced in the Heian period. Bizen is one of the six remaining kilns of medieval Japan. Bizen clay bodies have a high iron content and, traditionally, much organic matter that is unreceptive to glazing. The clay can take many forms. The surface treatments of Bizen wares are entirely dependent on yohen, or kiln effects. Pine ash produces goma, or sesame seed glaze spotting. Rice straw wrapped around pieces creates red and brown scorch marks. The placement of pieces in a kiln causes them to be fired under different conditions, with a variety of different results. Considering that one clay body and type of firing is used, the variety of results is remarkable.
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