Chefchaouen, a small town in northern Morocco, has a rich history, beautiful natural surroundings and wonderful architecture, but what it’s most famous for are the striking and vivid blue walls of many of the buildings in its “old town” sector, or medina.
The maze-like medina sector, like those of most of the other towns in the area, features white-washed buildings with a fusion of Spanish and Moorish architecture. The brilliantly blue walls, however, seem to be unique to Chefchaouen. They are said to have been introduced to the town by Jewish refugees in 1930, who considered blue to symbolize the sky and heaven. The color caught on, and now many also believe that the blue walls serve to repel mosquitoes as well (mosquitoes dislike clear and moving water).
Whatever the reason, the town’s blue walls attract visitors who love to wander the town’s narrow streets and snap some beautiful photos.
It may be hard to believe, but this incredibly lifelike lobster is entirely made of boxwood. Hand-carved and fully articulated, it’s the painstaking work of 25-year-old Japanese sculptor Ryosuke Ohtake and an awesome example of form of uniquely Japanese sculpture known as jizai okimono.
"The craft involves carving realistic animals whose bodies and limbs are all animated through joints just like the real living thing. Some common subjects are birds, fishes, snakes and insects. It’s a craft that originated in the late-Edo period (late 1700s) when metalsmiths and armor makers, faced with a decline in demand for armor, found themselves with plenty of time on their hands. But ever since it’s modest beginnings, the lobster, with its numerous joints and undulating back, has been considered to be the most difficult and challenging subject."
What’s perhaps even more unbelievable about this amazing creature is that it was Ohtake’s very first jizai okimono piece. It was shown as part of a wooden sculpture exhibition which took place at Tokyu Department Store in Tokyo this past April.
Click here to watch a brief video to get a closer look at this truly astonishing wooden crustacean, how it was made, and how realistically every single part of its beautifully articulated body moves.
Then visit Ryosuke Ohtake’s Facebook page to check out more of his amazing sculptures.
Japanese Exhibition Poster: Tsutsumu: Traditional Japanese Packaging. Direction Q. 2011
# 2: ‘Japanese retailer Isetan Shinjuku collaborated with prominent Japanese designers to release a line of reinvented men’s kimonos for the Summer 2012 collection. Designers include UNDERCOVER, PORTER, WACKO MARIA, PHENOMENON and White Mountaineering among others.
Creatively making use of print, pattern, color and cut, these men’s kimonos occupy an interesting space between casual and formal. Many of the garments are paired with casual caps, yet the history and cut of the kimono gives it an undeniable formality. Ultimately, these kimonos can be worn anywhere, as long as you have the confidence to pull it off.
Given how hip and on-point these designs are, it makes me question why the kimono never caught on in Western culture. The design possibilities for modern menswear, casual and formal are almost endless. Isetan Shinjuku has only scratched the surface with this line of men’s kimonos, and hopefully there will be more to come. ’ Text by Trenton Millar on Trend Hunter
Demolition of a the Bank of China building, Dalian, Liaoning, China