Art X Science II

1 02 2016

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The beautiful anatomical drawings of Albertus Seba, a kind of seventeenth century Dutch Takagi Hauyama  who produced exquisite illustrations of all manner of birds, animals and sea creatures brought to Holland by ships from the newly discovered tropical countries, as well as the Hydra Hamburg (below), a creature on display in the German city later revealed to have been a fake made of weasels’ heads glued into snakes’ skins.

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Seba’s work has recently returned to popularity with a reprinting of his ilustrations by Taschen.





Hanoi’s turtle trouble..

25 01 2016

Australia’s ABC reports:

A giant turtle considered sacred in Vietnam and venerated as a symbol of the country’s independence struggle has died, according to state media.

The turtle’s death prompted an outpouring of grief and stoked fears it boded ill for an upcoming Communist leadership handover.

The reptile, a critically endangered Swinhoe’s softshell turtle occupies a key mythological role in Vietnam, and in the past the turtle generally surfaced only rarely, with its sightings deemed auspicious.

Full story here

 





Art x Science : A Japanese eye

16 01 2016

 

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The nineteenth century anatomical drawings of Edo artist Takagi Haruyama . See more here.

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I’ve always enjoyed these kind of illustrations, and I found a book of Japanese anamtomical illustrations from the Edo era, including Haruyama’s work as well as this fascinating but little-known illustration by artist Takanobu Koriki, who depicted the scene of a wicker replica of an elephant exhibited in a nineteenth-century Japanese freakshow to crowds who had, of course, never seen a real specimen.

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Slow and steady wins the race

12 01 2016

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A regular sight on the streets of the Tsukushima neighbourhood , this man taking his Saharan tortoise on its daily walk.
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Concrete jungle

6 01 2016

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Above, the Setagaya convenience store King Kong, and below, a lone lion by the Tamagawa and a bear selling energy drinks.

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A wild (parrot) chase

28 12 2015

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When visitors think of birdwatching in Tokyo they perhaps first think of the city’s string of “bird cafes” (cat cafes having now lapsed into something of a cliche), “owl cafes” or even Ikebukuro’s “Bar in which penguins are present.” But the city does provide another, wilder, option.

A flock of parrots, escaped from cages in apartments all across the city, has established a colony in Ookayama, in the city’s Southwest.

The parrots were noticed by photographer Yoshinori Mizutani, who noticed them, sitting in long lines and watching him silently from power lines as he walked along an Ookayama street early one morning. He wondered where this non-native, and slightly sinister, army had come from and eventually tracked them down to a gingko tree where they spent the night in a communal nest, on the campus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Science.

The parrots rise amid raucous cries with the sun and set off around the gardens of surrounding suburbs for food, before returning to roost in darkness just as the sun has set. With early mornings, and motion-detention flash snares, Mizutani was eventually able to gather the striking images of the birds that he put into his book “Tokyo Parrot”.

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I wanted to see the parrots too, so one evening just before sunset, I headed over the TITS (yes, really) campus. Perhaps it was too early – or too cold? – but I didn’t see a single parrot. Instead though, I admired the beautiful modern architecture spread over its park-like grounds, crystal cubes or cathedral-like spaces where bright, dedicated people worked on solving the world’s problems.

The atmosphere was restful in the grey, rainy twilight. Even without a single parrot sighting, it was a worthwhile trip.

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Tokyo Parrot

28 12 2015

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Images from Yoshinori Mizutani’s “Tokyo Parrot”.

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