Hideki Tokushige’s Bone Flowers




Featured Artist: Hideki Tokushige

Hideki Tokushige creates incredibly elegant and beautiful floral sculptures out of the bones of dead animals called ’Honebana’. In Japanese, ’Hone’ means bones and ‘Bana (Hana)‘ means flowers.  After he creates the flowers – he photographs them, breaks them apart and then buries them under soil.  Why does he do this? Because -“Nature has a systematic cycle – spring comes after winter, flower blossoms and die, evening follows morning, life returns to soil and is reborn.”

“One morning 9 years ago, I found a dead raccoon on the street that had been hit by a car.  I had just finished reading a book about anatomical science, which was very unique and interesting to me. I  wanted to take the bones out of the animal the way they showed in the book.  I was very scared, it was very hard to touch it with my bare hands, but I took the body back to my place anyway.

I laid it down in the bathroom. The book said, “First of all, put the knife to stomach”. But I couldn’t. Because I had suspicions about his death – I felt like he might still be alive. Of course the body was cold, didn’t breathe, and had no pulse. However I couldn’t get it out of my head, that he might still be alive and had just lost consciousness. It was very hard for me to cut deeply into the body, I kept imagining the body coming back to life and running around my room. For me, who was born and brought up in an urban life in Japan, I only came in contact with a dead body at a science laboratory, museum, butcher’s shop or a fish store. At these places, someone else judged if they were dead or not. When my pet bird died in my home, my parents told me “she is dead”. I never needed to judge if anything was dead or alive. For the first time, I realized that I didn’t have any experience judging life or death and I was surprised that I didn’t know whether he was dead or alive. It was a very shocking phenomenon for me. I didn’t know the death, which meant I didn’t know the life. I leaned I knew nothing at all. “ 

“We don’t come in contact with bones anymore,” says Tokushige. “And yet we all will one day become bones and return to the earth. Perhaps by returning to a fundamental state of mind and contemplating bones, we can learn something about ourselves.”

-  Hideki Tokushige










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