beautifully gilded wood carving depicts Bodhidharma with one shoe in hand, riding
the wave on a banyan leaf crossing the Yangtze River. Though that he is dressed
in a highly detailed Chinese robe, facial features reveal his non-Chinese origin.
In fact, Bodhidharma, the blue eyed Brahmin was an Indian Buddhist missionary
of royal decent, who arrived China in A.D. 526. His name in Chinese is Da Mo (Greater
than Evil). He is believed to have visited Japan, where he is known as Daruma,
the God of Fortune. Bodhidharma is regarded as the chief of the Six Patriarchs
of Buddhism. He teaches that perfection must be sought inward through meditation
rather than outward observances.
statues of wood, gilded or painted with similar image of Bodhisdharma have been
found through out the centuries in China. In style, this opulent image of Bodhisdharma
follows standards established at the height of Ming dynasty. Judging from the
richly gilded gold, the color of lacquer and overall quality of the carving, we
would tentatively date the sculpture at 18th to 19th century.