5 Astonishingly Beautiful Japanese Bamboo Artworks You Must See


5 Astonishingly Beautiful Japanese Bamboo Artworks You Must See

by Anna Jamieson | ART

© Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, The Gate, 2017

Japanese bamboo art, too often overlooked, uses a wonderfully malleable and versatile material to give rise to all sorts of fantastic creations. Taking its inspiration from the ancient art of bamboo weaving, it’s not just about the creation of functional items such as mats or baskets. Rather, contemporary bamboo artists and craftspeople create a range of surprising and mesmerizing artworks, from delicate sculptures to beautiful, dynamic pieces. Read on for our pick of five of the most exceptional Japanese bamboo artworks — you’ll be amazed at the diversity. 


1. Osamu Yokoyama

© Osamu Yokoyama, Rewind, 2017

We love the work of Japanese bamboo artist Osamu Yokoyama, which uses the material to create a dynamic and exciting piece full of drama. With pieces of bamboo rising like flames, or perhaps reminding the viewer of rollercoasters, the sense of movement that the material encapsulates is easily felt.

See more of Yokoyama's work at Yufuku Gallery.


2. Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

© Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, Enso "Zen Circle of Enlightenment"

Heir to a long dynasty of master bamboo weavers, Tanabe Chikuunsai IV learnt his craft at a young age, graduating in sculpture from Tokyo Art University, and joining the family studio in Sakai. His arresting and monochrome works are now present in many public and private collections, proving that bamboo can be both a subtle and a monumental, attention-grabbing material! You can see more at the Mingei Arts Gallery.

3. Tanabe Chikuunsai IV (again!)

© Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, The Gate, 2017

The incredible bamboo art of Tanabe Chikuunsai IV was recently placed centre stage at an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and it’s not hard to see why. His installation ‘The Gate’, specially created for the Met, compounds the qualities of bamboo as both a sculptural material in its own right, and an architectural building material. Both traditional and contemporary, ‘The Gate’ almost acts as a portal to another world.

You can get a glimpse of the artistry involved in this video from the Met.

Bamboo art is one of many Japanese craft skills that find a dedicated audience in the tea ceremony. See some of the sublime results:


4. Fujitsuka Shosei

© Fujitsuka Shosei, Rosette Nebula, 2013

This incredible piece of Japanese bamboo art seems to be inspired by nature, with its spiralling, intertwined bands of bamboo reminiscent of a shell or acorn. I can’t decide what draws me to this beautiful piece more; maybe it’s the juxtaposition of the red-hued bamboo against the black frame, or the entangled shapes that make up its circular, inward-looking form. A great example of some of the possibilities available from the bamboo material.

Enjoy more of Shosei's creations at Tai Modern.


5. Hajime Nakatomi 

© Hajime Nakatomi, Rasen

The work of Hajime Nakatomi oscillates between incredible geometric bamboo sculptures, where the bamboo is manipulated into forms which look like two dimensional spirographs, to his more traditional pieces which are reminscient of wicker baskets or containers. Safe to say we’re hooked on the beautiful patterns and shapes of these pieces.

Seeing bamboo a little differently now? Leave your comments below to let us know what you think!


February 2, 2018 | ArtBamboo, Sculpture