My Little Daruma

About a year ago, I came across an artist that created these adorable ceramic sculptures. They looked like little blobs with a smiley face. I fell in love instantly and knew I had to have one. Luckily for me, she was scheduled to show at my dear friend’s art gallery in the future. I was forced to wait for months but I finally got to see them in person and take one home!


The artist’s name is Akemi Maegawa and I love all of her work. Below is her artist’s bio taken from Adah Rose Gallery’s site:

Akemi Maegawa is a conceptual artist working in ceramics and a variety of medium. Her ceramic sculptures in the show include Darumas, Vessels, and Housing Market Miniatures. Akemi’s works are delicately and intimately conceived, reflective of musings on the world around her; Akemi uses her sculpture to “question the human condition, politics, history, and everyday life.” Her works broach serious topics, yet maintain an exquisite delicacy, indicative of her conscientious artistic process. Akemi’s works radiate with a soft tenderness, lovingly imbued with their creator’s personality, humor, and deep thought.

These little guys are called darumas. Adah Rose, the owner of the gallery, told me that they are a symbol of good luck and iconic in Japanese culture. Since I’m nowhere near an expert on their history, I resorted to Wikipedia:

Daruma doll (達磨 daruma) is a hollow, round, Japanese traditional doll modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism. These dolls, though typically red and depicting a bearded man (Bodhidharma), vary greatly in color and design depending on region and artist. Though considered a toy by some, Daruma has a design that is rich in symbolism and is regarded more as a talisman of good luck to the Japanese. Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular gift of encouragement. The doll has also been commercialized by many Buddhist temples to use alongside the setting of goals.

Isn’t that perfect? I need all the luck I can get so not only are they adorable, they’re functional. Akemi has created a range of sizes from as small as the tip of your finger to about a foot high. Some of them have different faces instead of the standard cute smiley.

The top one is the “listening” daruma, the middle is technically untitled but it looks over it so it’s one of my favs, and the last one was created as a response to the Parkland shooting in Florida.

If it were up to me, I’d have many of these throughout my house. Adah Rose kindly gifted me two and I gave one to Ri as a gift. Although, I’m really thinking of picking up another for myself when I go to pick up my first one. I think they’re so nice as a pair. The larger ones like the “listening” and “over it” darumas are more expensive. $800 expensive. If I had the budget for that I’d totally get one but I think I’ll have to stick with the $40 or less darumas.

If you’re near the Kensington, MD area, please stop by the Adah Rose Gallery to see Akemi’s stunning work until October 28th!

Adah Rose Gallery
3766 Howard Ave
Kensington, MD 20895

If you’re interested in your own daruma, visit the gallery’s website, give Adah Rose a call at 301-922-0162 or even shoot her an email at