sembazuru – one thousand cranes

Om May 27th 2017 Viveka Gardens recieved a generous, auspicious and beautiful gift, full of grace from artist Ikuko Danby, a sculpture called Sembazuru. It is full of symbolism. The installation was quite an event on the most shakti-filled May day: magical. Ikuko writes,

SEMBAZURU is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings.

The crane is an elegant bird with an elongated neck which appears in legends across the world because of its beauty, spectacular mating dance and their devotion to a mate for life. In Japan the crane (tsuru) is considered a mystical creature and often appears in literature and art, and is sometimes used as a national symbol (eg the logo of Japan Airlines).

An ancient Japanese legend promises that folding a thousand origami cranes will grant a wish. Therefore, hanging them in one’s home is thought to be a lucky charm. I used to see colourful Sembazuru hanging in the windows of patients in hospital, made by the patients themselves, their friends or their relatives, as well as faded ones in all sizes at Hioshima memorial dome and at some Buddhist temples made by school children.

Unfortunately, today in modern Japan this beautiful tradition seems to lost. But to me each action of folding a small paper in to a fragile bird still feels like an act of wishing or praying for world peace.

Om Shanti                                     Ikuko Danby