This is a humorous depiction of the Grand Patriarch of Zen casting a side-glance. Typically, Daruma fixes his gaze on the viewer in direct confrontation but here Daruma looks off to the side, asking us to take in the entire view and to perceive that which is not immediately manifest. The long, formal signature links the artist with the unbroken transmission of Zen: Daruma appears at the end of the line of characters, representing enlightenment in the here and now. Expertly painted by a talented artist and Buddhist practitioner, this little Daruma is a true delight.
Chokunyu was born in Kyushu but moved to Kyoto and became pupil and adopted son of the well-known artist Tanomura Chikuden. Chokunyu was mainly a nanga artist but he also did calligraphy and some Zen-style paintings.