Label Text: The Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma (known as Daruma in Japan), is often credited with spreading Buddhism from India through China, Korea, and Japan, and founding the Zen sect. He is said to have sat motionless in meditation for nine years, after which he found that his crossed legs would no longer move. Popular depictions of him as a snowman-like figure without legs or arms, have contributed to making him a humorous figure today.
This netsuke, carved in the style of the Tokoku school, satirizes the long-seated monk, showing him in a bucktoothed yawn, perhaps, from boredom. His legs and the hand holding prayer beads seem to have begun to fuse from disuse, while fingers still clutch the hossu--a fly whisk for swishing away the many thoughts and ideas the continually trouble human beings and disrupt meditation.