Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Art 'painting' on a Giant Canvas in Japan

WhenTalking| Imagine having a gigantic canvas the size of 15,000 square meters and your mural design will be living art.
Tanbo Art is the strategic planting of four varieties of rice which have different colored leaves in order to create a giant image in the rice paddy.  This type of aesthetic planting began in the Japanese village of Inakadate in 1993 in order to celebrate the village’s over 2000 year history of rice farming.  The practice has spread to other rice cultivating communities in Japan and even other countries such as Thailand and South Korea.
Even if a person is blessed enough to be born with artistic ability, most artists do not start with a canvas that is 15,000 square meters. The patterns are decided upon in April. The fields are planted in May and the bizarre agricultural murals are at full splendor in September. It’s not photoshopped, but computers do play a part in developing the designs. Farmers first sketch out their patterns, since each of the four different colored rice varieties have to be planted with precision.
Visualize the Patience, the Process
Although the fields now appear painted, local green-leafed tsugaru roman variety rice is planted along with purple and yellow-leafed kodaimai rice 

Yonezawa, Japan, followed suit and designed a field with fictional warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife Osen.

This agricultural artistry of Ebisu and Daikoku was used in 2008. This is Ebisu, god of fishers and merchants. He is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune.

 Smaller works of crop art sprung up in other rice-farming areas of Japan like these murals of Doraemon and deer dancers.

In 2006, Inakadate fields featured Fujin and Raijin. Fujin is the god of the wind and located on the right side of the field.  Raijin is the god of thunder and lightning.

 Naoe Kanetsugu, a commander from the Sengoku period, in on the left side of the rice mural. Napoleon is on the right side of the 2009 Inakadate field.

Upon closer inspection, the rows and thousands of rice plants become visible. It’s somewhat mind-boggling to imagine hand-planting each of the plants in the precise spots to create rice paddy art.
Closer still, it is easier to see the mingling of the different rice varieties. Planting the “Paddy Art” takes hundreds of villagers and volunteers. The village population is only about 8,700.
Inakadate is the undisputed leader in cultivating intricate and fantastic living works of art. The 2009 theme was Warlords and Napoleon.
 Rice field art is incredibly inventive, but marketing the living mural is even more creative. The 2008 rice mural caused drama since an ad was carefully placed to grow within it. This 3.7-acre rice mural in Inakadate features Daikoku, the god of wealth. Daikoku is holding the “magic money mallet.” Japan Airlines has a crop-based advertisement under Daikoku. The incorporated advertising met with disapproval from the former mayor, Ryuji Sato. He also happens to own the field. After a week of heated debates, town hall employees were dispatched to uproot the rice plants that formed the JAL logo.
The above animal and historic scenes were drama and ad free.
In this stop-motion video of the 2008 Inakadate rice crop art, daily images from June 1 to July 8 were captured from a roof webcam.  On July 4, the webcam was shutdown when workers were sent to remove the cultivated JAL ad from the crop. We can’t wait to see what new yet spectacular giant crop murals will cover the rice fields in Japan . . . . also if ads designs will be growing in the rice paddy art venues.
Do you want to try it?