Daruma is the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, the saint from India who is believed to have founded Zen Buddhism sometime in the 5th or 6th century. Supposedly he meditated for nine years (some say seven years) without closing his eyes before achieving enlightenment. In Japan he is often depicted as a limbless doll (Daruma’s arms and legs shriveled during his meditation years) that returns upright when knocked over. As such he symbolizes success due to determination and overcoming misfortune.

As this dramatic futon cover shows, Daruma dolls come in a variety of forms and sizes.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller