Cabinet of Monstrosities

Hajime Emoto, 2005

Quick quiz: can you list the seven deadly sins?

Hajime Emoto’s cryptozoological specimens are so convincing, I have trouble believing they’re conjured up with paper and bamboo. But this collection (Google translation) representing the seven deadly sins, incarnate and mummified, finally convinced me. I don’t want them to be real.

I think they’re viscerally creepy, in a way that his dragons and sea life are not. Coming from someone with a collection of dead insects and (real) bones, isn’t that an oddly contextual reaction? Is the collection a kind of litmus test for latent superstition?

Unfortunately the artist’s site is entirely in Japanese, but to orient you, it’s arranged as a virtual “fantastic specimen museum” with three floors and a basement. An index to all the galleries is here (Google translation).

Via lots of places.

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5 Responses to Cabinet of Monstrosities

  1. misteraitch says:

    These are marvellous creations… the google translation of the back-story is tantalisingly almost readable: I like how the seven deadly sins are translated as the ‘seven major crimes!’

  2. cicada says:

    I know. . .I think it may involve three monks (Jose & friends) who experienced unpleasant demises – thus the three sets of slightly different, but clearly phenotypically consistent sins (?) The Google translation just adds another layer of bizarreness to the whole thing. . . very peculiar indeed.

  3. Mike says:

    I bought Emoto’s two books containing photos of those creatures (with some of the animals in a natural context) from for about $60 Cdn. Well worth it, IMO, even though I can’t read the Japanese. I would love to see a decent translation but don’t expect it. The weirdness of the google translation has a flavour to it, but I can’t help but think that Emoto’s own words would as well. Works of genius these are.

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