Located roughly an hour north from central Tokyo is a fairly nondescript government building: Itakura Town Hall in Gifu prefecture. The building houses a small gallery that counts among its collections various obscure pottery work and paintings as well as a glass-enclosed sculpture of a Buddhist deity made from roughly 20,000 beetles in numerous varieties. If you have any form of entomophobia or insectophobia I suggest you don’t read on.
The sculpture was made almost 40 years ago in 1978 by a man named Yoneji Inamura, who was in his 50s at the time. We recently learned that Inamura had passed away earlier this year in January at the age of 98, which is what prodded us to look into his work.
Although Inamura created several sculptures out of beetles, he spent 6 years in the 1970s constructing this one, which has become his masterpiece and the largest sculpture he ever made. When it was done he donated it to the city.
The sculpture, made from rhinoceros beetles, winged jewel beetles, drone beetles, longhorn beetles and other types of local beetles, depicts the senju kannon bosatsu (1000-armed bodhisattva), a popular Buddhist deity in Japan.
You can see and read more at Spoon & Tamago.
Exceedingly wealthy, the royalty of the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) lived indulgently, and these aristocrats were determined to enjoy their accustomed luxuries in the afterlife as well. While their strong affinity for the extravagant is largely unrecorded in historical texts, modern archaeology has immensely helped to shed light on these lifestyles from 2,000 years ago. Since 2009, archaeologists have uncovered thousands of telling treasures buried in royal tombs that date to the Jiangdu kingdom. They found not only exquisite mortuary objects and finely crafted domestic wares but also artifacts that speak to the body’s needs and desires — including a number of ancient sex toys.
You can see and read more at Hyperallergic.
And last, an animal so Disneyfied it makes Disney animals look woefully inadequate:
You can see more of a Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel here.