Have the natural activities of these insects immediately awakened your childhood memories as a free bird?
However, it’s hard for today’s urban children to go through nature and observe the lives of insects. “A city is like a large cement box that traps children in a steel forest and isolates them from nature outside”, said by Noriyuki Saitoh, a famous Japanese bamboo artist. He wasn’t just whining, as he can create a rich variety of insects with his bare hands.
At a 1:1 scale to real insects, these works are handmade by Saitoh with bamboo local to Japan! Bamboo-working is neither common weaving nor traditional carving. Instead, bamboo is cut into pieces, slivers, or threads, which are then combined into objects with various methods.
Among all types of bamboo-working, Saitoh loves most and does best in insects. Be it the antennae of a grasshopper—
Or the pattern of a butterfly—
Every detail of Saitoh’s bamboo works is impeccable. Even the thorax and abdomen, which are hardly noticeable in a display, are made clear. If you put such cute insects into the grass, their real counterparts may come to say hello!
Saitoh has been making bamboo insects since 2007, when he resigned from his long-term high-pressure job in Tokyo and returned to his hometown, a land surrounded by mountains and the sea. “I understand insects only because I was born in Takasaki.” Saitoh grew up watching other boys catch all kinds of bugs in the fields and beaches after school, which has familiarized him with various insects.
Thanks to such warm and soft memories, Saitoh’s bamboo insects are full of agility, not just specimens. He said, “I use bamboo to make insects to show my impression and feelings about them at first sight. My goal is never to make an imitation specimen or replica.”
What gives people a lifelike feel at first sight must be eyes. As long as eyes are expressive, then the dragonfly is a dragonfly, and the butterfly is a butterfly.
Wings are also critical. Saitoh really takes the thin layer out of bamboo, and sticks it on wings made of bamboo threads!
Saitoh’s bamboo insects are so realistic that they have been invited by some museums to be used as specimens. His works are more intuitive to audience than pictures and videos, especially for some endangered insect species.