Wild Creation: Realistic Komodo Dragon Bench Unveiled in Wakayama Village

Art Guide to Japan

Professional chainsaw artist and former world champion Kidokoro Keiji has created a startlingly lifelike masterpiece: a bench in the shape of a Komodo dragon. The recreation of the world’s largest lizard is displayed at the entrance to the Ryūjinmura Dragon Museum in the city of Tanabe in Wakayama Prefecture. The museum is popular with reptile enthusiasts, and also serves as a community gathering place.

The 2.75-meter long bench is made of locally-grown camphor wood and took Kidokoro approximately 10 days to complete. With its animated pose and fine detail, including the scales and the inside of the mouth, the Komodo dragon bench is highly realistic.

Kidokoro says he made the work especially for the new facility, which was built with the goal of livening up the small community of Ryūjin. Kidokoro fashioned his creation into a bench to make it practical in addition to decorative. The design parallels the theme of the Dragon Museum, and the giant lizard was specifically selected as a motif because it is an existing creature that most calls to mind the image of a “dragon.”

“It’s intended to be a spot where visitors can take photographs,” Kidokoro says of the work. “I hope it will add to the enjoyment of visiting the museum.”

The Dragon Museum opened in July 2022. In addition to exhibits of sculptures and other works on the theme of dragons, the facility includes a shop where locally-produced goods can be purchased along with a local branch of the post office.

(Originally published in Japanese on Kyōdoshi.com on August 23, 2022. Translated and edited by Nippon.com. Banner photo: The Komodo dragon-shaped bench outside the Dragon Museum in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture. © Kii Mimpō.)


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