Thursday, April 28, 2016

 Lucky Cat (Maneki Neko)
woodblock print
This Japanese folk image beckons good fortune and good company into the home.  What looks to a westerner as “bye-bye” is the gesture for “come here” in Japan.

Guardian Fox Messenger

woodblock print

The fox is the guardian/messenger for Inari, the deity of rice who is honored at shrines throughout Japan. The fox is a trickster figure, able to change into any shape.


woodblock print

Manjusri is the deity of wisdom in the Buddhist pantheon.  I pictured him as a boy riding a Korean tiger.  

Japanese Tiger

woodblock print

This tiger is a guardian figure, one of a pair (the other is Chinese!)

Kuan Yin
woodblock print
Kuan Yin is the Chinese name for the deity of mercy and compassion in the Buddhist pantheon who “hears the cries of the world.”  (Chenrezig in Tibet, Kannon in Japan)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013



Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Wish Fulfilling Daruma Doll
A favorite souvenir of tourists visiting Japan is the Daruma doll, a round, usually red, papiermache figure with big empty eyes. When you get your Daruma doll, you make a wish or think of a goal, and paint in one eye. When the wish comes true or the goal is reached, you paint in the other eye. The doll is also a symbol of determination. Tip it over and it quickly goes upright again. The Japanese saying is:
"Seven times down, eight times up."
Daruma (Bodhidharma) was an Indian priest who founded Zen Buddhism in China. The legend is that he meditated so long without moving that his arms and legs fell off! And that's determination!

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

4 x 6 inches
woodblock print

This charming papier mache dog (inu hariko) is a wish for good luck and good health.
In Japan it is given to pregnant women in hopes of an easy childbirth,
and also to new babies, to be hung over the crib to guard the baby from harm and illness.
Different shrines have different styles of inu hariko. Some have toy drums on their backs.
This one has a basket and an umbrella on his head!
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

4 x 6 inches
woodblock print

In the olden days, Japanese kitchens had an image of a round-cheeked smiling woman, named Otafuku,
who carried a rice scoop in one hand. She brought good luck to the hearth.
Throughout Asia, the Bodhisattva of Mercy (Kannon in Japan, Kuan Yin in China)
is often depicted with a long-necked bottle containing healing balm,
or the elixer of immortality. I combined them in one image, as a blessing
for physical and spiritual health.
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