Oct 25, 2016 | By Alec

Remember Japanese artist Taketo Kobayashi? While many 3D printing artists use the technology to go all out with sci-fi inspired designs, Taketo has been using digital design and 3D printing to take us back to the dawn of human art. Much of his inspiration is found in ancient Japanese religious depictions and artworks, many as old as the Jomon period in Japanese history (approximately 12,000 BC to 300 BC). For his current YAOYOROZ project, Taketo actually 3D printed a model of the ancient Shinto god Sarutahiko, mixing ancient and modern design patterns into a single gorgeous statue.

It is just the latest example of the fantastic 3D printing projects Taketo works on. Readers might recall the intriguing works of the Tokyo-based modern artist and his quest to harmonize Japan's rich history with modern technology and sub-cultures through 3D printing. His projects have covered and combined everything from the culture and art of the Shogun era to modern day anime (and everything in between). This has previously already resulted in a modern interpretation of the age-old Japanese tea ceremony involving 3D printed utensils, several highly artistic 3D printed prosthetics in the More Than Human project (in collaboration with visual artist Yoshinori Sakamaki as XSENSE). Traditional Japanese beliefs can be seen in his series of 3D printed Buddha statues, this fantastic replica of a 5000-year-old pot from the Jomon period, and now this new Shinto statue.

As Taketo explains, this YAOYOROZ project focuses on the ‘eight million gods’ of Japan. Not all are major creation gods like Izanami and Izanaki, but are more like natural spirits living in giant trees, massive rocks and even in single leaves of grass. They represent the power and wonder of nature, which was feared and respected throughout ancienst Japanese society. This animistic co-existence was key to the culture of the Jomon period, a period that did not see widespread wars for about 10,000 years and strongly formed the basic Japanese cultural identity.

After that period many other cultural and religious influences were brought to Japan, including Buddhism – which fused with the animistic belief system, bringing the philosophy of Gautama Buddha into Japanese culture. This can be clearly seen in the Ittobori wood carvings, which fuse the power of Buddhist statues into the animistic power of the wood. And that is exactly what Taketo is now trying to achieve with the YAOYOROZ project – to bring the Japanese sense of animism and prayer into 3D printed shapes. “In each era, people have directed their mind and finest technologies to make prayer shapes, like doki (pottery), dogu (clay figures) and Buddhism statues. The next step would be to create worthy shapes that symbolize our modern society through contemporary technologies like 3D printing,” he explains.

The Shinto god Sarutahiko itself can be traced back to the mythology of Kojiki and Nihonshoki. When Niniginomikoto, a descendant of the Sun goddess Amaterusu, came to earth it was Sarutahiko who waited for him at a crossroads and provided guidance. “So, I consider Sarutahiko to be an older god than the descendant of the Sun goddess, who came from Takaamagahara (heaven, or sky land),” Taketo says. “That’s why I used a lot of the spiral patterns seen in Jomon doki. The design of Sarutahiko is mixture of contemporary Japanese sub-cultural designs and Jomon designs. I believe that Japanese sub-cultural designs are modern expressions of Japan’s animistic roots, direct descendants of the Jomon period.” The statue thus brings together the contemporary and the ancient, forming a gigantic circle of Japanese culture and history.

To actually 3D print this remarkable statue, Taketo turned to Japanese 3D printing company iJet. Through this collaboration, the Japanese specialists 3D printed the statue in nylon12 material using 3DSystems’s ProX500 SLS 3D printer. The completed statue is 50cm tall (60cm with the spear), and was finished in a white china style using an extensive primer-based processing technique, followed by a coat of white uv-paint. While many of these kinds of statues are unique, Taketo is now also working with the RAKU.TSUKU 3D printing service to provide the digital model as part of the integral library.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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