ORNAMENTAL

Skull bonsai trees: merging life and the departed

Photo from Tokyo Bonsai Lifestyle (instagram.com/tokyo_bonsai).

Photos from Tokyo Bonsai Lifestyle (instagram.com/tokyo_bonsai)

A group of bonsai enthusiasts in Japan uses the remains of wild animals found in forests as vessels for bonsai making. Often, only 10% of these remains are made use of, so Tokyo Bonsai Lifestyle gives life to these departed animals by making it home for bonsai trees.

One of their work, called ‘Cycle of Life,’ makes use of a female deer skull and a golden yellow plum bonsai, a sign of oncoming spring, and is for sale for JPY37,800. Meanwhile, ‘Shrieking’ uses a boar skull as a vessel for a Forsythia bonsai. The skull was positioned as if it was crying to mirror the overcoming of death and resilience of life. It costs JPY64,800. Other works can be viewed on their instagram account @tokyo_bonsai.

A bonsai grown in an animal skull. Photo from Tokyo Bonsai Lifestyle (instagram.com/tokyo_bonsai).

A bonsai grown in an animal skull. Photo from Tokyo Bonsai Lifestyle (instagram.com/tokyo_bonsai).

A bonsai grown in an animal skull. Photo from Tokyo Bonsai Lifestyle (instagram.com/tokyo_bonsai).

Aside from doing art that showcases the beauty of life and death and giving thematic messages related to those two by combining them through skull bonsais, Tokyo Bonsai Lifestyle also makes bonsai with miniature buildings and Buddhist imagery as vessels.

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