If you're familiar with Japanese culture, you've likely come across the prolific Daruma doll. The symbolic toys have a rich history in Japan: They're based on Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. While the dolls can come in an array of different colors and styles depending on the region, the most popular models come from the city of Takasaki. In the video above, you can see Daruma dolls being created in that regional style.
Each doll has a mustache made of turtles and cranes for eyebrows. (These animals both represent longevity.) Once the figures are sculpted, artists dip them in red paint, then hand-paint designs on their faces. As you might have noticed, the dolls have blank eyes, which look out of place when surrounded by the intricate animal patterns.
That's because it's up to the owner to paint them in: After purchasing a doll, the customer fills in the left eye, while thinking about a specific goal or wish. Once that objective has been completed, they can fill in the right eye. In this way, the doll serves as a physical reminder to the owner to keep working on his or her goal.
Primary image courtesy of YouTube.
Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.