Buddha Sculpture Made from 20,000 Dead Beetles

Japanese artist Yoneji Inamura spent six years of his life collecting 20,000 beetles of different varieties and using them to create a five-foot sculpture of a popular Buddhist deity.

It’s unclear how and when exactly Inamura started catching and collecting beetles. Some sources claim that it was during his days working for the local railroad, in Itakura, Japan’s Gunma Prefecture, after noticing that the rhinoceros beetle’s horn resembled the fingers of the Buddhist deity, while others say that he was helping local children collect beetles and just became fascinated with them. Living in a rural area of Japan, Inamura was always surrounded by various types of beetles, including rhinoceros beetles, winged jewel beetles, drone beetles, longhorn beetles, just to name a few, and he dedicated most of his free time to catching and adding them to his collection.

Feature Pinched from: Oddity Central

Photo: Naver

Yoneji Inamura was not a professional artist, but in 1970, he somehow got the idea of using his extensive collection of beetles to create art. His first notable work was a wooden samurai sculpture covered in 5,000 beetles of different varieties. He spent 10 months using the bugs to make a unique armor for the samurai and the result was simply breathtaking.

 

Photo: parnassus

But while the self-taught artist got a lot of attention when his beetle samurai was unveiled, it wasn’t all positive feedback. While some people praised his talent, others called him cruel for killing so many insects to create the artwork. He wasn’t immune to this criticism, so he decided to make amends for killing thousands of tiny critters in the most bizarre way – killing even more of them.

 

 

Photo: Naver

In 1972, Yoneji Inamura started working on his most impressive beetle sculpture, a five-foot-tall statue of the senju kannon bosatsu (1000-armed bodhisattva), a popular deity in Japan. “If I shaped them into the form of a Buddhist statue it would also serve as a memorial to the insects,” he told Japanese newspaper Asahi.

 

 

Photo: Naver

Over the next six years, Inamura collected beetles almost every day, before and after work, and added them to his artwork. It took him a total of six years and 20,000 beetles to complete the Buddha. The controversial sculpture generated a lot of publicity in the late 1970s, and people from all over Japan traveled to Itakura to see it in person, but it was eventually forgotten.

 

Photo: Naver

Luckily the beetle Buddha was rediscovered two years ago, by a Tokyo art museum director looking for interesting artworks for an exhibit. It received ample coverage in Japanese media, and it is now proudly displayed at the Itakura Town Hall.

 

 

Here are some photos of his beetle samurai sculpture.

Facebook Comments
Previous post

NSFW: The BDSM Art of Joerggum

Next post

OATHBREAKER Photo Tour Diary Part Two: San Francisco

The Author

Sean Reveron

Sean Reveron

4
Leave a Reply

avatar
2 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
Anabell LampKyla PunJesse CameronWojtek Perezki Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jesse Cameron
Guest

Kyla Pun

Kyla Pun
Guest

that’s siiiick

Anabell Lamp
Guest

:/

Wojtek Perezki
Guest

Michał chore czy spoko?