Daruma in a Boat with an Attendant

Suzuki Harunobu Japanese

Not on view

In an unusual display of vanity, Daruma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, extracts hairs from his chin with a tweezer as he leans over the edge of a boat, using the river as a mirror. The waves merge into the lines created by his reflection, and the ripple of water in front of the boat mimics his curled hand.

Ukiyo-e artists often parodied revered figures, particularly Daruma, as a means of exposing the hypocrisy of society. During the Edo period, the word daruma became a slang expression for a courtesan, and darumaya meant a brothel. Many prints portrayed Daruma with courtesans or courtesans as Daruma.

Daruma in a Boat with an Attendant, Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1725–1770), Woodblock print; ink and color on paper, Japan

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