|Photo: Bored Panda|
When I saw these wonderful models of bonsai trees, made by artist Naoki Onogawa, which each incorporate 1,000 origami cranes, I thought I'd do one of my quick 'ooh ahh, aren't these lovely' type of posts and that'd be it. Little did I know that if I delved I'd discover the significance behind this feat.
There's even a word for folding 1,000 origami cranes, 'Senbazuru'. Ancient legend has it that if you achieve this the gods will grant you a wish. I should jolly well think so! Kits to make them are sold in Japan, complete with strings to hang them on. Traditionally a set of 1,000 cranes is given by a father at a wedding to bring one thousand years of prosperity and happiness on the couple. But making them is not a feat for the faint hearted. JAXA, the Japanese space agency set this as a task for budding astronauts.
There's a statue in Hiroshima to commemorate Sadako Sasaki, who suffered leukaemia because of atomic fallout. She died after folding 644 cranes during a hospital stay and her classmates completed the task. Cranes are often left at temples to disintegrate as the wish manifests.
So after finding out all these stories I love the imagery that this beautiful art evokes. Perhaps we need to start a similar tradition in the Western World?